A new study by researchers at Mount Sinai has been published in the peer-reviewed “Journal of Medical Internet Research” with a very interesting claim.

According to that report an Apple Watch can successfully predict a positive COVID-19 diagnosis up to a week before a swab test confirms it.

The report was picked up by TechCrunch with the study involved people using a specific iPhone and Apple Watch app.

During the course of the study, the research team enlisted “several hundred healthcare workers” to participate, and collected data over several months, between April and September. The primary biometric signal that the study’s authors were watching was heart rate variability (HRV), which is a key indicator of strain on a person’s nervous system. This information was combined with information around reported symptoms associated with COVID-19, including fever, aches, dry cough, gastrointestinal issues, and loss of taste and smell, among others.

The study is also continuing to look into what else Apple Watches and other wearables could be capable of noticing about the pandemic, including the impact of things like sleep and activity.

The study is ongoing and will expand to examine what else wearables like the Apple Watch and their onboard sensors can tell us about other impacts of COVID-19 on the health of care workers, including what factors like sleep and physical activity can have in association with the disease.

It’s obvious why it could be a huge deal if Apple Watches can help diagnose COVID-19 before a test has been taken, if only to allow people to isolate sooner than might otherwise be possible.

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