Facebook on Tuesday released the first maps of the COVID-19 symptoms people have self-reported experiencing county-by-county across the U.S., based on aggregate data from the opt-in Facebook survey that was conducted with researchers at Carnegie Mellon.
“Understanding how COVID-19 is spreading is critical for local governments and public health officials as they allocate scarce resources like ventilators and PPE, and eventually to decide when it is safe to start re-opening different places,” said Mark Zuckerberg, founder and CEO at Facebook. “Researchers believe these symptom survey maps can be an important tool in making these decisions. I've always believed that helping people come together as a community will help us address our greatest challenges – not just by sharing our experiences and supporting each other in crises, but also by working together at scale to solve problems. The world has faced pandemics before, but this time we have a new superpower: the ability to gather and share data for good. If we use it responsibly, I'm optimistic that data can help the world respond to this health crisis and get us started on the road to recovery.”
Facebook recently started offering an opt-in symptom survey prompt at the top of U.S. users homepages. The survey, being run by health researchers at Carnegie Mellon University, asked people if they have symptoms such as fevers, coughing, shortness of breath or loss of smell that are associated with COVID-19. Since experiencing symptoms is a precursor to becoming more seriously ill, this survey can help forecast how many cases hospitals will see in the days ahead and provide an early indicator of where the outbreak is growing and where the curve is being successfully flattened.
The survey responses are sent to the researchers and aren't accessible to Facebook.
This is the link to the symptom survey results that one can search for New York results https://covid-survey.dataforgood.fb.com. This is the initial survey data, but more people will have the option of sharing information to support the larger cause.