A new infographic shows how Santa Clara County lowered its rate of flu-like illnesses faster than New York County by enacting shelter-in-place orders sooner during the coronavirus outbreak.
It was created by Kinsa Health, a San Francisco-based medical technology company that has been tracking daily fever readings using data from ‘smart thermometers’ connected to the Internet.
The graphic shows over the course of a month – from February 10 to March 21, Santa Clara’s rates decreased, New York’s increased, only taking a dip around March 16.
This is because California declared a state of emergency, restricted public gathering and issued stay-at-home orders sooner than New York did.
So while just two percent of Santa Clara County were reporting fevers on March 21, nearly five percent of New York County had temperatures above 99F on the same day.
Experts say this indicates that strict social distance measures help slow the spread of the coronavirus, and may even be stemming colds and the seasonal flu as well.
New data reveals that Santa Clara County, California had a drop of flu-like illnesses from more than 6% to 2% by March 21 (above)
Rates in New York County also dropped after its own stay-at-home order, but they were still above 4% by March 21
Experts say that the data seems to indicate that Santa Clara County lowered its rates faster by enacting shelter-in-place orders sooner during the coronavirus outbreak. Pictured: A patient is transferred into a waiting ambulance Elmhurst Hospital Center, April 7
According to the infographic, California Governor Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency on March 10 when close to five percent of Santa Clara County had flu-like illnesses.
Rates continued to increase – to more than six percent – until March 9, when Newsom recommended working from home if possible.
Over the following three weeks, rates plummeted to about two percent as schools closed, restaurants closed and shelter-in-place orders were enforced.
Meanwhile, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo did not declare a state of emergency until March 7, when rates were also at five percent, just like Santa Clara.
But, by comparison, rates continued to climb exponentially, finally hitting their peak on March 17, after schools, restaurants and bars were shuttered.
The infographic shows that rats fell to only about four percent by March 20, after Cuomo introduced NY PAUSE, requesting everyone stay at home.
HOW DOES KINSA ANALYZE READINGS?
Kinsa has distributed one million smart thermometers from across the country.
Users take their temperatures, which are then uploaded to a database.
The company has received about 162,000 daily readings.
People can then add other symptoms they are experiencing into an app.
The app will offer advice on whether or not the person should consult their physician.
‘Social distancing is slowing the spread of feverish illnesses across the country,’ Kinsa wrote on its website on April 1.
‘This does not mean that COVID-19 cases are declining. In fact, we expect to see reported cases continue to surge in the near term.’
Kinsa has distributed more than one million thermometers and get about 162,000 temperature readings a day.
The thermometers upload the temperatures to a database (similar to Apple iCloud) and users can add other symptoms into an app.
‘As specific diagnostic testing ramps us slowly, we’re going to have to come up with other methods to figure out where [the virus is] spreading,’ Dr Peter J Hotez, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas, told DailyMail.com in a recent interview.
‘It’s a good back-up system to traditional measures and the first sure sign I’ve seen that social distancing is working.’
Prior to using the tool to track COVID-19, Kinsa’s tool has mostly been used to track where seasonal flu outbreaks are occurring.
Traditionally, the company’s predictions have been two or three weeks ahead of those compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
With the coronavirus pandemic a new feature has been added to the map, which the company calls ‘atypical’ illnesses.
The majority of the country has been showing low to moderate rates of illness, shaded in yellow and orange.
However, Florida is the only state with counties colored red showing ‘high’ rates of flu-like illnesses including Orange County, Palm Beach County, Broward County and Miami-Dade County.
Experts have suggested that the Sunshine State is on track to become the next coronavirus epicenter in the US.
With millions of Americans heading down south to escape winter or for spring break – and drive-thru testing sites running out of kits – it could be a perfect storm for a rise in infections.
What’s more, nearly four million senior citizens live in Florida, a huge concern considering the elderly are the most vulnerable to contract the virus.
In the US, there are more than 398,000 confirmed cases of the virus and nearly 13,000 deaths.