This analysis, says the company, is based on its recent real-time illness signal data, which is updated daily and is highly correlated with the national influenza-like illness (ILI) reported by the Center for Disease Control (CDC). The company tracks this anonymized data on its atypical Illness Health Weather map, which shows the cumulative amount of atypical illnesses – those above the normal expected levels – it has observed since March 1.
“The time series chart,” says the company, “allows you to compare Kinsa’s observations of the influenza-like illness level in the U.S., in orange and red, against where we’d expect them to be, in blue, and see how that relationship has changed over the past few weeks.”
Based on recent data, says the company, “We are seeing increasing evidence that social distancing policies enacted at the state level are causing decreases in viral transmission.” Looking specifically at data for the states of Washington, California, and Florida, the company says that it appears that strict social distancing measures appear to have an effect on reducing the total influenza-like illness.
As of March 30, the New York Times reported that the map showed that fevers were down in three-quarters of the country from their peak levels on March 17. In addition, the data reportedly showed that the number of fevers was trending downward in New York City, which has been particularly hard hit.
The company, whose stated mission is to “stop the spread of contagious illness through earlier detection and earlier response,” says it has sold more than one million of its digital thermometers and is continuing to distribute them at a rate of 10,000 per day. Users of the devices then upload their body temperature data via an app to the company’s centralized database.
“We believe that the biggest problem in healthcare globally is the spread of infectious illness,” says the company. “The key to stopping the spread is better information on where and when it is starting. We believe it is unacceptable that, in 2020, tens of thousands of lives are lost every year to the seasonal flu – an illness that we know will come each year, yet each year we are unprepared to mobilize the right resources in the right places at the right times.”
Data from its users’ thermometers, says the company, have enabled it to track the spread of flu in real time and forecast where it is headed in three to four weeks.
The company’s U.S. Health Weather map was launched on March 18. The company has made the map free and available to the public and says it is donating a thermometer to a family in need for every thermometer purchased on its website.
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