The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted every aspect of our lives on both individual and societal levels. Within health sciences and medicine, healthcare workers and scientists are working tirelessly to find treatments and cures. Outside of these disciplines, how can we contribute? Here is one opportunity: download the CovidWatcher app (available on iOS and Android) developed by researchers from Columbia University and share it with your network.
CovidWatcher is a tool that enables citizens to answer questions about their health conditions and resource needs to help cities, hospitals, and community organizations make resource deployment decisions. In other words, CovidWatcher takes a citizen science approach in data collection so that every citizen has an opportunity to contribute to the process of tackling a pandemic through filling in knowledge gaps.
CovidWatcher analyzes collected data and shares insights in an anonymous and aggregate fashion with their community partners1. Data is also used to power an interactive map on its website that allows citizens to understand the development of COVID-19 situations in their communities.
This tool addresses two components of pandemic response: cross-sector planning and coordination as well as situation monitoring and assessment. The success of these activities partially depends on inclusive data collection as every citizen matters. So it’s time to participate and call on our networks to become citizen-scientists and join this effort!