Why are the daily questions in the COVID Symptom Study app changing?

October 30, 2020

Regular contributors to the ZOE COVID Symptom Study app will notice a few differences to the daily health reporting questions, starting from this week. These changes will apply to everyone, and have been designed to make it easier to navigate through the questions and to help with vital COVID-19 research as we head into winter.

Here’s an overview of the changes and why we’ve made them. 

Keeping it simple

We have heard from some of you that our current question flow can be a bit cumbersome, especially for people entering similar information day after day. 

So we’re making life easier by changing the format of the questions to make it quicker and more intuitive for people to complete their daily health report. We’re also grouping the questions broadly into affected parts of the body, as we know that this is how people tend to think about their symptoms.

This is just the first step in an ongoing process, so watch out for more improvements coming soon. If you have any comments or suggestions for changes you’d like to see in future just drop us an email on covid@joinzoe.com.

Keeping it relevant

Our understanding of COVID-19 continues to grow as we discover new knowledge and the situation shifts across the country, so we need to make sure that the questions in the app are relevant to all age groups and reflect what’s going on right now.

We’re adding in questions about potential new symptoms of COVID-19 based on patterns of responses from app users who have tested positive, while removing a small number of questions that are no longer relevant.

As we head into the winter months, we’re also bringing in some questions that may help us to tell the difference between COVID-19 and common illnesses like colds and flu, which often have similar symptoms. 

Some of these new questions may be ‘negative predictors’, designed to detect symptoms and combinations that are less likely to be associated with COVID-19. 

For example, just having a runny nose without any other symptoms is probably unlikely to be a sign of coronavirus infection. So answering ‘yes’ to any of these questions doesn’t necessarily mean you have COVID-19.

Keep on logging

The insights that have come from millions of COVID Symptom Study app contributors are helping us to make real progress in understanding COVID-19, and are especially important as we head into the months ahead. 

Please do encourage others to download the app and spend just a minute every day contributing to vital health research. 

Keep safe and keep logging!

The COVID Symptom Study app

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