Can your Garmin detect coronavirus?

Can your Garmin detect coronavirus?


April 21, 2020

Can your
Garmin detect coronavirus?

smartwatches were not designed or intended to monitor or diagnose diseases, but
scientists from top universities and institutes around the world are actively
researching whether wearable devices like ours can help identify early
indications of coronavirus.  

One premise
is actually quite simple. (1) An elevated heart rate is an early sign of a
common cold, the flu or coronavirus. (2) Garmin smartwatches have built-in
heart rate monitoring at the wrist. Put the two together and society could have
an extremely helpful tool for early indications of the virus on a mass scale.

To be sure,
the ways in which wearable technology can help solve the current and future crises
extend far beyond heart-rate monitoring. That’s why Garmin has teamed up with
scientists around the world to seek the answers about the potential for Garmin
smartwatches to be a useful tool in society’s need to better identify, track
and monitor coronavirus.  

In this
article, we’ll cover a few of the major studies in the U.S. in which Garmin is participating
and also provide details on how Garmin smartwatch users can join the cause and
be a part of the solution. Here we go:

wearable data predict illness?

Duke University recently
launched a study called Covidentify, aimed at slowing the spread of COVID-19.
Using data obtained from mobile and wearable devices like Garmin smartwatches,
Duke hopes to learn how to track the spread of COVID-19, understand when someone
may be susceptible to contracting it, and who might be at higher risk of worse
outcomes if they get infected. Garmin smartwatch users are encouraged to link
their watches to the study to help researchers learn how their heart rate and
movement are affected by COVID-19. People healthy and staying at home are also
encouraged to join. For more information, visit

Is your
smartwatch already a detection device?

When your
heart beats faster than usual, it can mean that you’re coming down with a cold,
flu, coronavirus, or other viral infection. The Scripps Research DETECT study
seeks to determine if tracking of changes in heart rate, activity and sleep, at
the individual level, can provide an early indication of a viral illness like
COVID-19. Garmin users can enroll in the study via the MyDataHelps app which
allows them to provide informed consent, sync their device, and enter
self-reported data. By collecting data from thousands of individuals,
scientists hope to identify possible influenza-like illness in those
individuals and complement traditional outbreak response measures. For more
information, visit

aggregated wearable data help families and doctors?

PhysioQ has
just opened up the waitlist for NEO, a free, at-home COVID-19 monitoring
platform built for families to keep track of their loved ones. Using top
wearables trusted by researchers, including Garmin smartwatches and activity
trackers, families can gain peace of mind by monitoring from oxygen saturation
levels, beat-to-beat heart rate, and more from afar.

In an effort
to accelerate COVID-19 research, the anonymized data donated by families will
be aggregated to create one of the world’s largest open COVID-19 databases.
Many medical researchers and scientists have already signed the pledge to work
on this initiative, including Dr. Andrew Ahn, an internist and researcher treating
patients on the front lines, and Dr. Chung-Kang Peng, Director of the Center
for Dynamical Biomarkers and
Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School.

“Being able
to monitor SpO2 and beat-to-beat intervals as well as activity and sleep
through Garmin’s consumer-friendly devices is a real gamechanger,” said Dr.
Chung-Kang Peng. “We believe the insights gained from this data can change our clinical approach
and significantly expedite our disease discovery process,” added Dr.
Ahn. For more information on the PhysioQ NEO project, visit

We’re in
this together. 

In these
ever-changing times, one thing’s for certain: our society won’t stop seeking
answers about this health crisis and what can be done to avoid another one in
the future. Garmin is proud to work alongside these entities and more around
the world in their quest for answers that will get scientists one step closer
to early detection and hopefully one day, a cure.


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