Most fascinating article I’ve read today: The New York Times reports that data compiled by Kinsa Health, an Internet-connected thermometer company, from tens of thousands of people around the U.S.It indicates a drop in fever reports from their peak, particularly in places that are under strict stay-home orders.
Kinsa has established a reputation for spotting trends in flu from its thermometer readings weeks ahead of CDC-gathered information from doctors. Now it seems to have spotted another developing trend with implications for slowing coronavirus. Fevers are dropping in every area of the country as calls for social distancing have penetrated even Donald Trump’s skull. In short: It appears staying home saves lives.
For some hard-hit cities, Kinsa also sent The New York Times fever data plotted on a timeline of restrictions enacted by mayors or governors.
Those graphs, Dr. Schaffner noted, showed that simply declaring a state of emergency or limiting the size of public gatherings did not affect the number of people reporting fevers.
But closing restaurants and bars and asking people to stay in their homes produced dramatic results in all three cities.
For example, in Manhattan, reports of fevers steadily rose during early March, despite a declaration of emergency on March 7 and an order on March 12 that public gatherings be restricted to less than 500 people.
The turning point began on March 16, the day schools were closed. Bars and restaurants were closed the next day, and a stay-at-home order took effect on March 20. By March 23, new fevers in Manhattan were below their March 1 levels.
Last Friday, New York State’s own data showed the same trend that Kinsa’s fever readings had spotted five days earlier.
This is not peer-reviewed, not established science, not even a Trump “feeling.” But it’s more than a little interesting. And it argues for what sensible people have been promoting and for what some political leaders have required — all but essential workers stay home.
Reason has more on Kinsa. Its temperature and basic health tracking are credited in the article with helping push down regular flu levels.