IQSS and Collaborators Announce the “How We Feel” Project in the Fight Against COVID-19

April 2, 2020
How We Feel logo, blue field with white letters "H W F", with a heart

In an effort to address the gap in recorded cases of the novel coronavirus in the United States, the Institute for Quantitative Social Science at Harvard University, Pinterest, and scientists and doctors from the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health and other universities and nonprofit organizations are launching the How We Feel Project.

The project’s first effort in addressing the current novel coronavirus epidemic is the How We Feel mobile app, where users can easily self-report any symptoms they are feeling, which scientists and public health researchers can then use to track and address the spread of the virus in communities across the world. The app takes seconds to use; the only information requested is how the user is feeling and whether they are experiencing any relevant symptoms. The user also remains anonymous, as no personal information is requested.

For each download of the app and first completed health check-in, Pinterest CEO Ben Silbermann and his wife, Divya Silbermann, will donate a meal to a family in need through Feeding America. The couple has pledged to donate up to 10 million meals.

Albert J. Weatherhead III University Professor and Institute director Gary King and Graduate Student Georgina Evans are leading IQSS’s contribution to the How We Feel Project through IQSS’ Privacy Insights Project, which is developing statistically valid systems of data sharing that also protect individual privacy to the mutual benefit of individual users, scholarly research, and society at large. Other collaborators include IQSS faculty affiliate Xihong Lin, Professor of Biostatistics and Statistics at Harvard and Coordinating Director of the Program in Quantitative Genomics at the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health; Feng Zhang, Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator, Core Member of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, and the James and Patricia Poitras Professor of Neuroscience, McGovern Institute for Brain Research, MIT; and Eran Segal, a computational biologist and professor at the Weizmann Institute in Israel. Other collaborators hail from the University of Pennsylvania, Stanford University, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Weill Cornell Medicine, and the Weizmann Institute of Science.

The How We Feel app is available for download in the US on Android and iOS. It is also accessible via web at http://www.howwefeel.org.

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