A message from Professor Tim Spector, On behalf of the The COVID Symptom Study team.
On the 24th September, the NHS COVID-19 app launched across the UK, as part of the NHS Test and Trace service and NHS Wales Test, Trace, Protect service. We are aware that this new app has been causing some confusion as lots of you have been in touch, so we wanted to briefly explain how the two apps are different and why you need them both.
The COVID Symptom Study app
As most of you already know, the COVID Symptom Study app is a global public science project supported by the UK government and crowd-funding, with more than 4.2 million participants providing vital health data to help researchers and the NHS understand and beat COVID-19. And it’s thanks to your ongoing support since March that we have been able to achieve some pivotal successes in the fight against COVID, like: getting loss of smell recognised officially as a major COVID symptom (as well as delirium as a key symptom in frail older adults), rapidly identifying local hotspots ahead of time, providing the government with daily data updates and much more!
The COVID Symptom Study asks you, our study participants, to log daily health updates across a wide range of potential symptoms. We invite participants to book an NHS test if they report symptoms (including but not limited to the ‘classic’ three) that might be caused by COVID-19. Please note, the COVID Symptom Study does not have any contact tracing or QR check-in facilities. It cannot access your phone’s Bluetooth, GPS, location data or contacts, and does not track you as you move around.
The NHS COVID-19 app
Unlike us, the NHS COVID-19 app has been created to support the government’s efforts to control the spread of the virus through testing and contact tracing. It has a basic symptom checker, which includes the three ‘classic’ symptoms, to help identify people eligible for a test. It also notifies users if they’ve been in ‘close contact’ with someone who then tests positive for coronavirus and allows them to check in to venues using a QR code.
The bottom line
The apps are totally separate and entirely compatible, meaning you can and are highly encouraged to use both to help us all get through the pandemic.
It’s important for as many people as possible to keep using the COVID Symptom Study app to monitor their health on a daily basis and contribute to vital research into the pandemic. You can also log on behalf of family and friends who aren’t able to use the app, including children and the elderly.
We need everyone to play their part to help us all get through this. We urge you to download and use both apps to help us get through COVID-19 over the months ahead.
More details on why we need both apps here.
Keep safe and keep logging.