Studies say smartwatches can detect Covid-19 days before symptoms show up:
Smartwatches and other wearable devices that measure a user’s heart rate, skin temperature, and other physiological markers can help spot coronavirus infections days before an individual is diagnosed.
According to studies from leading medical and academic institutions, including Mount Sinai Health System in New York and Stanford University in CaliforniaDevice such as Apple Watch, Garmin, and Fitbit watches can predict whether an individual is positive for Covid-19 even before symptoms start appearing.
Experts say that the Apple Watch can detect subtle changes in an individual’s heartbeat, which can signal that an individual has the coronavirus, up to seven days before they feel sick or infection is detected through testing.
Specifically, the study analyzed a metric called heart rate variability — the variation in time between each heartbeat which is also a measure of how well a person’s immune system is working.
Individuals with COVID-19 experienced lower heart rate variability, or, in other words, little variation in time between heartbeats, in contrast to COVID-negative individuals, the study found.
High heart rate variability does not reflect an elevated heart rate: It indicates that an individual’s nervous system is active, adaptable, and more resilient to stress.
Apple did not participate in or fund the study but is aware of its watches’ capabilities. Tim Cook in September touted the watch’s role.
Wearable device makers also are looking at how technology could be used to combat the virus.