“Over the past few years, a California-based tech start-up has repeatedly made headlines for beating public health agencies at their own game.

The start-up, Kinsa, which makes internet-connected thermometers, has routinely detected the spread of seasonal flu weeks before the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And when Covid hit last year, the company saw unusual spikes in fevers about 18 days before states recorded peaks in deaths.

“The difference is not that we’re smarter,” said Inder Singh, the founder and chief executive of Kinsa. “We’ve got better data.”

Many disease-tracking efforts, including the C.D.C.’s flu surveillance system, rely on data — patient symptoms, test results, inpatient admissions and deaths, for instance — reported by hospitals, laboratories and other health care facilities. But Kinsa’s devices provide an illness signal as soon as someone feels sick enough to use a thermometer. “In simple terms, we talk to mildly symptomatic patients,” Mr. Singh said. “The health care system misses them entirely.”

Now, the company is putting its pandemic prognostication skills to a new test in a partnership with the New York City Department of Health. Over the coming months, Kinsa will distribute as many as 100,000 free smart thermometers through the city’s elementary schools and will make the resulting data available to local health officials. The goal is to create a citywide early warning and response system for outbreaks of Covid, the flu and other infectious diseases.”

Read the full post on The New York Times.