COVID-19 symptoms map shows where people are feeling sick

"Researchers believe these symptom survey maps can be an important tool in making these decisions". With testing capacity still limited in many places, this kind of survey effort seeks to provide a more anticipatory picture of the virus and where it might be spreading next.

The map uses information from a voluntary survey - developed by researchers at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh - that appeared on Facebook and asked users if they were experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19 including cough, fever, shortness of breath or loss of smell, CEO and founder Mark Zuckerberg wrote in the Washington Post. According to a release, more than a million people responded to survey within the first two weeks. This survey helps public health researchers track and forecast the spread of COVID-19.

The Delphi research team at Carnegie Mellon released their findings Monday and said they received about 1 million responses weekly from Facebook users, according to a news release. For instance, 3.56% of people surveyed in Navajo County, Arizona, reported symptoms associated with COVID-19, landing it in the highest bracket along with counties including Carbon County, Pennsylvania, at 3.35% and Mille Lacs County, Minnesota, at 3.7%. Flu symptoms were defined as a fever and either a sore throat or cough.

Facebook reaches large segments of the population allowing for a significant representation of age, gender and state of residence. The survey is controlled by CMU and individual responses are not shared with Facebook.

Later this week, the COVIDcast site will debut interactive heat maps of the United States, displaying survey estimates from not only Facebook, but also Google users. The rates are based on 7-day calendar weeks.

Hospital Referral Regions (HRRs) represent regional health care provider markets with at least one hospital that conducts specialized medical care, such as major cardiovascular procedures or neurosurgery.

Facebook launched a symptom tracking partnership with Carnegie Mellon University's Delphi epidemiological research center early this month, and now the company now plans to expand the project outside of the U.S. In early April, Facebook began prompting some users in the U.S. with a CMU survey asking them to self-report COVID-19 symptoms. Surveys like this have been used globally for public health research, the social media site said.

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