What if your smartwatch could help detect Covid-19?

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An apple Watch (illustration September 15, 2020).
An apple Watch (illustration September 15, 2020). (APPLE / HANDOUT HANDOUT / MAXPPP)

Two American medical studies show what was already assumed. Some watches and smart bracelets can detect the warning signs of Covid-19. This equipment is indeed capable of detecting variations in heart rate, one of the indicators of the disease, even before symptoms appear. The first study was conducted between April and September by researchers at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York on approximately 300 healthcare workers equipped with Apple Watch, generation 4 and 5. This made it possible to anticipate the appearance of symptoms 7 days in advance.
Another study was conducted by Stanford University, California, last spring, on 5,000 people, with connected watches and bracelets from Apple, Fitbit and Garmin. Signs of Covid-19 were detected up to 9.5 days before the first symptoms appeared.

The signs are encouraging but we must remain cautious. These studies have limitations, particularly with regard to the small number of infected people in the sample. However, smartwatches are not just gadgets to get notifications faster, but more and more health accessories.
Apple regularly reports on cases of people who have had their lives saved after receiving alerts on their watches for heart problems.
Today, the latest generations of watches, such as the French Withings watch, are even equipped with a pulse oximeter, which measures the level of oxygen in the blood, which is an indicator of possible respiratory problems.
It’s not just watches. There are even rings, like the American connected ring Oura, which also allows you to monitor your health from day to day.
However, all these products must be registered. This is the case in many countries including France. However, manufacturers are very cautious in stating that this does not replace medical examinations.

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