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expert reaction to modelling using data from the COVID Symptom Study app being able to identify potential COVID hotspots

Data modelling from Kings College London has used data from the COVID Symptom Study app and has been able to identify potential COVID hotspots.


Prof Keith Neal, Emeritus Professor of the Epidemiology of Infectious Diseases, University of Nottingham, said:

“The Zoe COVID symptom app is a useful additional surveillance tool especially as data is in real time as users record symptoms each day and it has been running for a number of months.

“All data is useful especially when combined with local testing data to give a better overall picture.

“The main issue is that it monitors COVID symptoms rather than COVID itself.  Many of the people who are tested with COVID symptoms are negative. The 31 positive in 10,393 highlights this issue.  Similar illnesses are picked and when the flu season starts in may pick up local flu issues rather than COVID-19.

“The system is not specific enough to be used to introduce a local lockdown but definitely can be used to identify areas of potential concern where testing can be increased.

“Everywhere should already have plans for a local lockdown should they need one.

“Everyone should be encouraged to download the app and report.”


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