The Canadian founder of a startup who caught Covid-19 from Justin Trudeau’s wife has launched an initiative to allow anyone to self-report their own case of the disease and publish the results, helping authorities to get ahead of the pandemic.
Operation Covid-19 will visualize both official and suspected cases of the Coronavirus in data lists and on a map, with the aim of saving lives and improving global public health systems. People will be able to self-report the case via an anonymous questionnaire.
The site aims to demonstrate how many official tests — compared to suspected COVID-19 cases — there are.
“The more people who can contribute their COVID-19 experiences, we can turn the table on this pandemic and build more intelligence to save lives,” said co-founder Jillian Kowalchuk.
Kowalchuk is cofounder of “street-smart” safety app Safe & The City, but fell ill with COVID-19 symptoms after meeting the Prime Minister of Canada’s wife, Sophie Trudeau — who later tested positive for the disease — on March 5th at Canada House in London, as she Instagrammed.
She was later dismayed to learn she was refused a test for COVID-19 in a UK hospital and was instead told to go home and self-isolate, making her concerned about the lack of testing and public awareness of the scale of the problem.
“First-hand experiences like this are becoming more common throughout the world as more are refused testing, leaving the majority of COVID-19 cases unknown, under-estimating the severity of the problem, limiting preventative measures and resource mobilization into other needed public health monitoring systems,” she told TechCrunch .
The initiative will collect insights from people who have contracted COVID-19 to provide back to the medical and public health authorities.
In doing so it will create a map visualization of both official and self-reported COVID-19 cases, recovered and deaths to support best practices globally, including more testing.