Biohacking : Fitness Trackers and Coronavirus

Oura Ring overnight summaries comparing health vs sick values

The Coronavirus showed up on my fitness trackers before the symptoms arrived. On March 15th I felt fine and two days later I was laid up with COVID-19. As a biohacker I had been carefully watching my Garmin Venu watch and Oura Ring daily for unusual patterns. On the evening of March 16th some anomalies started showing up even though I was not yet symptomatic. I would proceed to sweat through the night and wake up with a killer headache, terrible body aches, chills and a diminished sense of smell.

The most notable changes were found in the following biometrics:

  • Resting Heart Rate increased by 15 BPM (lower is better)
  • Heart Rate Variability decreased 30 BPM (higher is better)
  • Average Overnight Body Temperature increased by 3.3 degrees fahrenheit
  • Repiratory Rate increased by 2.7 breaths per minute

Garmin Venu Stress Chart based on Heart Rate Variability

In mid-March there were very few known COVID positive cases in the US. I am in Washington State where the first case was found on March 10th. I had only been going to the grocery store and have already started showing symptoms six days after the first case in my state. My guess is contraction was through my girlfriend a medical worker that was near the facility with the first WA State tested positive person. My girlfriend tested positive for COVID-19, but I was unable to get tested for the virus directly as I was not an at risk person nor a medical worker.

One group that I was able to work with were the developers of the Bioloop App who had been working with Stanford and Oura Ring data to find anomalies in a persons biometric history. They were looking for the same sort of jumps in biometrics I mentioned above RHR, HRV, body temperature and respiratory rate. Soon after sharing my Oura data with Bioloop I was given beta access to their app and it did pickup on my unusual skewed biometric values.


Bioloop App

Nearly two months after experiencing my first symptoms I was able to be tested. QuestDiagnostics is offering a $130 antibody test which does not require a doctor referral. However, if you want your healthcare to pay for the exam you will need to work through their referral process. The antibody test that Quest offers requires you to make an appointment, take a survey, be 10+ days from last COVID symptom and pay on-line. When you arrive for the blood draw at one of their facilities you must wear a mask and you will receive your results in 24-72 hours through their MyQuest website/app. I was contacted by the county health department within 24-hours informing me that I had at some point contracted a coronavirus and they wanted to do some contact tracing and review my symptoms that I had experienced.

There are many serology IgG AB tests available now. Quest Diagnostics is using one of the more reliable in terms of accuracy. Quest has posted a FAQ and at the time of this writing they are using the Orthos Vitros test. My symptoms were limited and pretty much just being uncomfortable for a little over a week. After recovering for several weeks I went on to run a multiple ultra races (around my block) and noticed that the biometric data of running 100 miles sure looks a lot like being sick with the flu or COVID. While fitness trackers cannot tell us what we have they can give us a little bit of warning when our bodies start fighting to recover.

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