OpCovid has launched a new open-sourced tech4good project to identify all cases of the virus to prevent the spread, save lives and improve public health systems worldwide.

The idea came to one of the Founding Members in early March when one, Jillian, fell ill with COVID-19 symptoms and could trace contact from an International Women’s Day celebration on March 5th at Canada House where she met the Prime Minister of Canada’s wife, Sophie Trudeau. Jillian found out through family members in Canada a week later that Sophie Trudeau tested positive for coronavirus. Jillian called NHS 111 to seek advice about whether to get tested as she started to show symptoms and was staying in a household with an immune-compromised and very concerned individual. They weren’t able to provide a clear answer so Jillian and Gary, CTO of Safe & the City, decided to get tested and started to diary their experiences as they didn’t know anyone in their personal circle yet to contract or be tested for COVID-19. Once Gary and Jillian reached Newham University Hospital Coronavirus Assessment Centre, Jillian entered into a container with a single chair and telephone which linked to NHS 111. Jillian spoke with them and they confirmed she would not be receiving a test unless in critical condition and even NHS staff weren’t being tested so to go home and self-isolate. On the walk back, Jillian and Gary shared their concerns about the lack of testing and public awareness of the scale of the problem.

 

First-hand experiences like Jillian’s 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 mobilisation into other needed public health monitoring systems. 

Operation Covid-19 is intended to collate this necessary and timely information through a public health self-reported positive questionnaire to help bridge this critical gap. A map to visualise to demonstrate how many official tests compared to suspected COVID-19 cases there are and work together with partners to provide more equitable testing practices. 

The more people who can contribute their COVID-19 experiences, they can help turn the table on this pandemic and build more intelligence to save lives. More testing should be available shortly in the U.K. with other countries demonstrating the success in flattening the curb and longer-term strain on our healthcare systems. By sharing our stories, they’ll be able to prioritise these tests to those of us who need it first. 

If you believe you have or had COVID-19 we encourage you to take the anonymous questionnaire, share it with others who also have suspected cases and see how bringing visibility to our experiences can help save lives.

If anyone wishes to volunteer skills, collaborate or offer other support, please contact them at [email protected] or join us on our growing Facebook Page (https://www.facebook.com/groups/1069877326719640/about/).