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Scientist: New Data on US 'Gives Me Hope'

Nation is 'cooling,' according to smart thermometers
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 31, 2020 5:09 AM CDT
Updated Mar 31, 2020 6:37 AM CDT

(Newser) – Hundreds of millions of Americans are staying home amid tight restrictions aimed at slowing down the coronavirus pandemic. It appears to be working, according to Kinsa Health, a company that makes "smart thermometers" and has used the data to create a "Health Weather" map of the US. The company, which has sold or donated its products to more than 1 million Americans, says it has been getting around 160,000 temperature readings a day since the coronavirus began spreading widely in the US, the New York Times reports. Kinsa says "atypical fevers" peaked on March 17 and have been declining since. There were spikes in Louisiana and New Mexico last week, the company says, but its map shows fevers were dropping in every county in the country by Friday.

Kinsa says the "cooling" trend nationwide has become so pronounced that temperatures are actually below the normal levels it has recorded over the last eight years, suggesting social distancing has stopped flu spreading as well. "You’re desperate for hope at a time like this, and this gives me hope," Oregon State University scientist Benjamin Dalziel tells the Washington Post. Dr. William Schaffner, a preventive medicine expert at Vanderbilt University, says Kinsa's figures show that in cities hit hard by the outbreak, moves like closing restaurants and issuing stay-at-home orders made much more of a difference than merely limiting public gatherings. "It looks like a way to prove that social distancing works," he tells the Times. "But it does (show) that it takes the most restrictive measures to make a real difference." (Read more coronavirus stories.)

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