Possible Good News: Fewer Fevers Reported Nationwide, Says Smart Thermometer Company

Social distancing and lockdowns appear to be working to slow the coronavirus pandemic.


Social distancing and stay-at-home orders are working to slow and blunt the ongoing coronavirus pandemic according to fever trend data aggregated by remote health monitoring company Kinsa Health. Kinsa has sold more than one million of its bluetooth-linked digital thermometers and their users upload their body temperature data to the company's centralized database. The company's stated mission is to "stop the spread of contagious illness through earlier detection and earlier response." Data from its users' thermometers have enabled the company to track the spread of flu in real time and forecast where it is headed in three to four weeks.

The company has now devised a way to track the spread of the coronavirus pandemic by focusing on atypical fevers associated with COVID-19. The company is able to generate a U.S. Health Weather Map that tracks these atypical fever trends around the country. The New York Times reports that as of Monday morning, fevers were down in three-quarters of the country from their peak levels on March 17. In hard-hit New York City, Kinsa data show that the number of fevers is trending downward, which correlates with the good news that the COVID-19 hospitalization doubling rate in that city has dropped from two days to four days.

The decline in reported fevers correlates strongly with the implementation of social distancing measures such as shutting down schools, along with bars and restaurants. The places that locked down earlier are the areas where the number of fevers began falling first.

Social distancing lowering all U.S. fevers

As an added bonus, the Kinsa data show that social distancing has pushed down the national trend of influenza-like illness below its generally expected levels for this time of year. In other words, owing to the lockdowns, Americans are experiencing fewer bouts of normal seasonal flu and colds than they would generally be enduring now.

Kinsa's technology is part of the future health surveillance toolkit that will enable rapid public health responses to nascent disease outbreaks.

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  1. Data from its users’ thermometers have enabled the company to track the spread of flu in real time and forecast where it is headed in three to four weeks.

    Ron, do you have a pointer to how Kinsa handles the statistical manipulations between “its users” and the wider population?

    1. Not just “it’s users” – Their products don’t require the use of their corporate app. The ones reporting probably have underlying problems, or are hypochondriacs.

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  2. Can we breathe easily again?

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  3. thats right get the people to self track instead of the government forcing people to track their movements like China did. If you leave your home with out notifying or using your app you will go to jail or worse in China

    Yesterday a reporter asked Trump if there should be an app for everyone to track their social distancing, thankfully Trump shot that down quick. We may be getting tracked by other apps but no need to make it easier for the feds to track our every movement.

    1. You know the feds can just subpoena this company’s data at will?

  4. Why does this matter or relevant? At this point it’s clear the data and stats are not of interest to the people in charge. There are no defined metrics of success or any really defined strategy to any of this besides a fucking #flattenthecurve. We have entered the war on terrorism stage of this retarded action. There is no end in sight. We are two weeks away from peak, until two weeks from now where we will still be two weeks away.

    1. It’s “two weeks away” all the way down!

      1. And there’s no exit strategy. It’s as if there’s a belief that post-lockdown the virus will simply be gone. And all we have to do is cease all economic activity worldwide for six months with no downside consequences.


        1. I’ve seen so much of this. “Everybody stay home for two weeks so we can win!” Uh….that’s not at all what we’re doing here.

    2. YES! It’s the eternal “Victory is six months away” from the Bush Iraq years. They aren’t interested in even figuring out where on the curve we are, much less talk about when we can stop flattening it.

      1. We can stop quarantines when we have enough testing, tracking, and ventilation to contain the flood of patients that will spring up when the quarantine ends.

    3. How long on them sausages?

    4. We should have been done with this already. The incubation period of the virus is two weeks. So if everyone followed the guidelines, there should be very few new infections in two weeks. So why do the infection numbers keep rising? Because a large portion of the population is made of up idiots that keep gathering in large numbers at the beach, going to church, or just getting too close to other people on the street or in the grocery store.

      1. There are a couple of things going on firstly as I understand it there is no beating this as their is no immunity too it, so we are basically trying to not overrun the hospitals so there will always be an increasing amount of infection rate as the entire or 30% of the population gets tested for it. Secondly we really didn’t start mass producing tests till like last week nationally. I know for a fact in my state(VA) My buddy had all the symptoms he called the doctors office and they told him they didn’t have enough tests really and since he wasn’t in the danger demo to just self isolate. The protocol till like last week was to discourage as many people from coming in to hospitals to take the test unless they were sick enough to require treatment. My neighbor is actually dealing with several patients due to there specialty and is saying they weren’t even testing staff in direct contact with the patients in order to keep the powder dry on the testing.

        1. So it’s not just it’s spreading, it’s also a function of finally being able to do mass testing on something that was already here.

      2. I think I’m one of those idiots as I’m pretty sure I have it now. I couldn’t stay away from the only drive-thru coffee shop that is open near me. Also, I have a toddler and infant who I’m pretty sure receive germs that are beamed from alien planets millions of light years away.

      3. It didn’t help that Trump spent months downplaying the illness.

    5. the shutdowns are reducing the spread of the regular flu, the one people don’t bat an eyelash at killing tens of thousands a year, and never ask for the economy to be destroyed to fight.

  5. What I would like is an article discussing how China supposedly has around half the recorded number of infections compared to the US, yet has four times the population and four times the number of people per square mile. It’s called lying, and living under a repressive communist regime that kicks out journalists trying to uncover that very lie. A lie which delayed response by allowing people to travel from China and spread this disease around the world.

    1. What I would like is an article discussing how China supposedly has around half the recorded number of infections compared to the US, yet has four times the population and four times the number of people per square mile.

      I’m not going to ding Reason too hard for not bringing this up yet, if only because they’re not really a journalistic endeavor. They’re a commentary magazine, and save for a couple of outliers like Soave and Bailey, their articles have lagged other reporting for a while. But your point is taken, as the media seems to be completely uncurious about holding China or the WHO to account for their malfeseance/incompetency in all of this. The media have been giving China a rimjob since the Clintons were in office, however, so don’t expect that to change any time soon, especially with so many former Clinton cronies in various levels of the government, media, and NGO world.

    2. CM: Please see this March 23 Reason <a href=""article on trusting (not) China's coronavirus reporting.

  6. I heard about these temperature measures a couple of weeks ago on Rachael Maddow’s program. I think there is real potential here. The downside is that we are all allowing access to private health information, that is our personal temperature. This get back to the trade off questions. I wonder if those that suggest we should allow more death to maintain economic activity would also accept giving up personal information to maintain an active economy? Is there a compromise? We use aggregate data only and use it to advise people. So in the same way we report pollen counts, we could report potential fevers in a area and suggest people voluntarily use appropriate hygiene and social distancing.

    1. I wonder if those that suggest we should allow more death to maintain economic activity would also accept giving up personal information to maintain an active economy?

      Sounds like a false dilemma to me.

    2. No one wants the elderly to die but in true libertarianism we want the elderly and compromised the choice to go out just like the choice to use harmful drugs. they can stay home safe or thy can go out

      1. Yep. I’ve been thinking about this a lot- even skeptics of the broad actions taken tend to say “sure, lock down the nursing homes and the old people, let the rest of us live our lives.” But say I was a 90 year old grandpa who had made it this far and was damn well aware that any day could be my last, and I had kids and grandkids and great-grandkids that were what made my life worth living at this point, and maybe looked forward to going out and having coffee and hitting on the waitress at my favorite diner every morning. Now my family is scared to come visit me (or even technically banned from doing so) because they are afraid of being responsible for killing me, the diner is closed because the owner will be locked in a cage if he opens, and even if I choose to go out to the grocery store without full hazmat gear people look at me like I’m insane or irresponsible. And they tell me to be prepared to do this for months. I should be thankful for this? My remaining lifespan is most likely measured in months anyway, and they expect me to give up the few joys I have left for a non-trivial portion of that just so I can reduce my chances of dying quickly at 90 and instead be able to, say, break my hip and slowly waste away in a nursing home at 91 or 92?

        Speaking of nursing homes, they in particular have to be absolutely miserable places to be right now, more so than usual. For the people that had friends and family visit, no more of that. Staff are probably walking around gloved and masked and god knows what else at all times- you might barely get to see a human face. In most cases, probably locked in your room, not even getting to do activities and meet other residents. All in the name of prolonging a life that you probably barely consider tolerable even when things are normal?

        Leftists sometimes like to accuse pro-lifers of “worshipping life” in that they put the needs of a fetus above anything else, even when that fetus will likely be born with major birth defects, cause harm to the mother, etc. But once that fetus is born, progressives are full on the other way- no expense, no sacrifice by anyone else is too great to save or prolong even one life, no matter what the circumstances. And one simply cannot be allowed to make the “wrong” choices about even their own life that may result in it’s ending before the collective decides it is acceptable.

        1. You use the case of people in nursing homes but there are plenty of people who are immuno-compromised but have lots of life left. You could be in your sixties starting retirement, look forward to years when you can do things you have want to do. Now someone comes in as says my personal freedom to do risky things is more important than your last few years. You could be in your forties, recovering from cancer and have a family. You could be a premature baby. You have a good chance, but the hospital is full of CV patients. It will be more than the 90 years old that die.

      2. There is no clear Risk Description yet. Pay attention and you might see all sorts of suggestions. I’m spreading a rumor I heard that BP medicines like Lisinopril increase susceptibility to COVID-19. Better safe than sorry.

      3. yeah, there was a great danger that the voluntary social distancing measures, and the great number of companies encouraging workers to work from home, would help reduce the spread of coronavirus without the state governments “doing something”. So instead of advising people to take sensible precautions to slow down the spread, and possibly enacting mandatory but temporary actions in hard hit cities, the governors wanted the spotlight to be seen taking bold action to shut down their entire states.

        I hope it helps somewhat, at least to give the hospitals time to prepare that the governors failed to advise them to do earlier, and that the last person who loses his job in each state is the governor who gave the order, from vengeful voters.

  7. Dr. Fauci is already warning about a renewed ChiComVirus pandemic in the Fall. If he convinces Trump to shut down the American economy again, then Trump loses in November which would be meaningless next to the end of America as an economic power. The Great Depression is going to look like a sunny day’s walk in the park.

    1. Don’t worry, the economy is screwed either way. If the Dems win, socialism takes root. If Trump wins, the national debt crushes us all anyway.

  8. Maps of the virus outbreak have become nothing more than maps of population centers.

    1. Or maps of where testing has been done.

    2. Agreed, to both points – The map is population centers where the test are available and being administered.

      I chat with more than a few people who live out in the boonies who wonder why their schools and churches and government offices are shut down when there are zero cases or deaths within 100 miles of them.

  9. On the one hand, this kind of stuff is really cool and a good example of how voluntary use of a technology (and provision of information) can help solve complex problems. On the other hand, progressives can’t see anything “good” without deciding it needs to be mandatory. I am waiting for some kind of “common sense proposal” for mandatory wearable health monitoring devices to help protect public health. Since “public health” apparently renders any consideration of individual rights moot.

  10. I wrote about this in morning links, but, like I said there, even if this isn’t the peak in confirmed infections, it appears to be apeak, and that’s a lot better than what we had before–when for all we knew, the rate of infections was still accelerating.

    My primary concern is from my own personal perspective, but the obsession of the markets (both stock and the credit markets) is answering the question of how long this will last. If this coronavirus episode has had any long term impact on the thinking of average Americans, i hope it underscores how ridiculous the belief is that politicians (or anyone else) can know what’s in the best of the American people before the markets have the necessary information to digest. Market forces are people making choices for themselves, and if they’re having a hard time with that because the future is uncertain, realize that it’s uncertain for everybody–even those who would take over for an uncertain market.

    Life is a never ending series of marginal analyses of the future, constantly being reevaluated and corrected for as the future slips into the present and the truth is revealed. No amount of science or compassion can tell us what to do better than market forces themselves–once they have the information they need to make choices. If that information isn’t available yet, then good decisions can’t be made by anyone–regardless of how much they care. And decisiveness is not better than indecisiveness when the pertinent data isn’t available.

    Let’s hope this isn’t a false peak and the coronavirus recedes from here.

    And for the sake of all that’s good and holy, let’s stop turning to politicians to solve our problems for us in the face of an uncertain future. Plenty of people think that praying to an all-knowing God in the face of an uncertain and frightening future is irrational, but then, when the future is uncertain and frightening, they treat our politicians as if they were an all-knowing God! IF IF IF believing in an all-knowing God is irrational, it’s nowhere near as bad as believing that Nancy Pelosi, Mitch McConnell, Donald Trump, and Jerome Powell are all-knowing.

    1. or especially Gavin Newsom.

  11. I’m already seeing the 100,000 being revised down to 81,000. And if they are ADMITTING down to 81,000, you have to wonder what the real numbers are.

    1. I’m not sure where you’re getting your numbers. I’m seeing 163,359 confirmed cases and 2,919 deaths from the CDC.

      Germany has 560 out of 63,000 confirmed cases for a death rate of .89%, and their mortality rate is considered low.

      If the death rate is .89% of infections in the U.S., then the number of infections in the U.S. should be 2,919/.0089 or 327,997 infections.

      1. I’m talking about the possible 100,000 US deaths that Fauci was talking about just a couple days ago. Now the estimate I’ve been seeing is 81,000.

        1. Yeah, if those predictions had any validity, hedge fund operators everywhere would be offering him competing fortunes to come run their fund.

      2. all of the death rates are still way too high. people with mild symptoms are mostly not getting tested.

  12. Stop the Wuhanvirus hysteria.

    Most Americans were already exposed to the virus and only some of those Americans had sever symptoms. The majority had no symptoms or minor symptoms.

    1. Citation?

  13. Possible Good News: Fewer Fevers Reported Nationwide, Says Smart Thermometer Company

    Undermined by the fact that ‘smart’ thermometers exist and morons are buying them.

    Look, I have a massive tech-fetish but even I’ve decided that no networked devices are allowed in the house unless they can be hosted by me.

    Smart fucking thermometer. What are these people thinking.

  14. I wonder–when the people who are taking their temperatures with this device get admitted to a hospital, do they keep taking their temperatures with this device? In other words, are the Corona-virus-stricken being included in this sample?

  15. “The decline in reported fevers correlates strongly with the implementation of social distancing measures such as shutting down schools…”

    Shutting down schools was the main thing. There’s a reason cold and flu season overlaps with the school year. No need to put everyone out of a job.

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  17. How in the WORLD does our writer conclude that the observed trends result from social distancing and lockdowns? Viruses recede and fade away most times entirely without these things.
    MAYBE the vast destruction of the economy helped.

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