Scientists at Scripps Research in La Jolla are using technology found in personal electronic devices to track recovery from the coronavirus.

“Our study used fitness trackers to examine people with COVID and to track their recovery times,” said Jennifer Radin, epidemiologist at Scripps Research.

According to Pew Research, 20% of Americans use a fitness tracker and data from these devices may be the key to tracking symptoms of COVID.

“Smart trackers and fitness watches do a great job of characterizing each individual’s unique normal, so your normal resting heart rate, your typical normal activity level, and your normal sleep level, so when someone falls ill, we can detect changes in your norm. Said Radin.

The average heart rate of a person is between 60 and 100 beats per minute and, according to Radin, some people with COVID have an elevated heart rate.

“The main lessons from this study of average individuals with COVID took two to three months for their resting heart rates to return to their healthy baseline,” Radin said.

Julia Moore Vogel, who contracted COVID-19, is still feeling the effects of the virus a year later.

“I was a pretty active person,” Vogel said. “I was going out for a three mile jog that I wouldn’t think about at all. Now I have to be really careful to manage the number of steps I take per day.

Scientists hope to get more long-term data in future studies to compare with what people experience six months or more after the disease.


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