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Internet-Connected Thermometers to Detect Virus Spread in Schools

California-based tech start-up Kinsa manufactures Internet-Connected Thermometers. This has routinely detected the spread of seasonal flu weeks before the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.When the Covid hit last year, the company saw unusual spikes in fevers about 18 days before states recorded peaks in deaths. Inder Singh, the founder and chief executive of Kinsa said that the difference is not that we’re smarter but they collect better data.

Many disease-tracking efforts, depend on patient symptoms, test results, inpatient admissions and deaths, that are reported by hospitals, laboratories and other health care facilities. Kinsa’s devices provide an illness signal as soon as someone feels sick enough to use a thermometer. Mr Singh said that we talk to mildly symptomatic patients. The health care system misses them.

The company is putting its pandemic prognostication skills to a new test in a partnership with the New York City Department of Health. Kinsa will distribute as many as 100,000 free Internet-Connected Thermometers through the city’s elementary schools and will make the resulting data available to local health officials. The goal is to create a citywide early warning and response system for outbreaks of Covid, the flu and other infectious diseases.

Dr Jay Varma, the senior adviser for public health to Mayor Bill de Blasio said that during the epidemic we have learnt the importance of having as accurate information as we can get, in real-time, about how diseases spread through communities. The Kinsa partnership is going to help the company to strengthen our ability to understand new and emerging diseases that may pop up in the school community. Since 2015, it has distributed thermometers through more than 4,000 individual schools across the United States as part of its FLUency program.

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