New app helps scientists track COVID-19


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How We Feel is run by a non-profit organization. Its main goal is to track hotspots and other important statistics of COVID-19.

Leah Boone, Opinions Editor

A new nonprofit app called “How We Feel” was released in app stores in the United States due to the outbreak of coronavirus. This app was designed by researchers at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. 

People simply have to input their age, zip code, gender, symptoms, health conditions and a few more basic facts in order to give scientists adequate information for their research. It can help them as well as other officials find hotspots of the virus and areas that have the potential to have a spike in cases. 

The name of the app comes from the main purpose: to ask users their current health status. If an individual is feeling healthy, they input that into the app. If the user says he or she does not feel well, the app asks for the symptoms being felt.

 “It is so important to find a way to connect scientists to fight this pandemic,” said collaborator Feng Zhang. We wanted to find a fast and agile way to ultimately build a dynamic picture of symptoms associated with the virus.”

It only takes 30 seconds to fill out the information regarding a user’s symptoms, and there is no personal information included. Users do not have to input their name, number or email address, as the app only focuses on identifying COVID-19 hotspots and other important details.

The app, along with other developments, are all part of the The How We Feel Project. This is a nonprofit operation designed to help the health of the world by making an easier connection between individual citizens and researchers.

Many of the researches in the organization are scientists at Harvard, MIT and the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard. Other colleagues involved in the project are Ben Silbermann, CEO of Pinterest, and Eran Segal, who is in charge of a related project in Israel.

“Since high school, my friend Feng Zhang and I have been talking about the potential of the internet to connect regular people and scientists for the public good,” said Silbermann. “When we saw how quickly COVID-19 was spreading, it felt like a critical moment to finally build that bridge between citizens and scientists that we’ve always wanted. I believe we’ve done that with How We Feel.”

The team does not only want these efforts present in the United States. They want to work with researchers globally, and Zhang is already working towards collaborating with researchers from 11 countries. He calls it the CCC, or Coronavirus Census Collective.

To download the app or learn more information about the organization, visit