Corona app: How data from fitness wristbands and smartwatches can help

Corona app: How data from fitness wristbands and smartwatches can help

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Corona app: RKI asks for data from fitness wristbands and smartwatches

Digital technologies can play an important role in containing infections with the new SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus. The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) has now made an app available that accesses the data from fitness wristbands and smartwatches in order to obtain further information on the spread of the virus. The Corona data donation app is now available on all iOS and Android devices.

The new app "Corona Data Donation" can provide important additional information on where and how quickly the corona virus (SARS-CoV-2) spreads in Germany, according to the RKI. The app works in combination with fitness bracelets and smartwatches from different manufacturers and is "pseudonymized" so that no personal information such as the name or address of the user is transmitted.

Vital data from smartwatches or fitness wristbands

Many people in Germany regularly record their vital signs such as resting heart rate, sleep behavior, activity level or body temperature with smartwatches or fitness wristbands. "In the case of acute respiratory disease, these vital signs change significantly in most cases," explains the RKI. The Corona data donation app can use the data to identify typical COVID-19 symptoms such as fever.

What data does the Corona data donation app collect?

  • Postcode - One-time information provided by users, location or location data are not requested.
  • Body data - gender, age, height and weight given in rough steps (+/- 5 kg or 5 cm).
  • Vital data - activity and sleep data, pulse rate, body temperature (if recorded)

Identify focal points of infection better

The app expressly does not serve to track contact persons, but rather to identify focal points of infection better and to get a more precise picture of the effectiveness of the measures to combat COVID-19, according to the RKI. According to the institute, all data are “scientifically processed and then flow into a map that shows the regional distribution of potentially infected people down to the zip code level. The RKI reports that this map should be updated regularly and published at

Conclusions about the effectiveness of measures

"If the number of symptomatic patients can be recorded in a sufficiently large sample, this could help us to draw conclusions earlier about the occurrence of infection, spread and also about the effectiveness of previous measures," emphasizes RKI President Professor Lothar H. Wieler .

Digital applications a useful tool

Such digital applications can very well complement the previous measures to contain COVID-19 and "we hope that many people will participate"; the RKI president continued. The more people make their data available for evaluation, the more accurate the findings on the spread of the corona virus would be. The Corona data donation app was developed together with the e-health company Thryve and with the involvement of the Federal Data Protection Officer, according to the RKI. (fp)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the requirements of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.

Dipl. Geogr. Fabian Peters


  • Robert Koch Institute (RKI): Learn more about the spread of the corona virus with data from fitness wristbands and smartwatches (published April 7th, 2020),

Video: COVID-19 and Wearables Open Data Research (October 2022).