Diagnosis and screening

Can you diagnose covid over the phone?

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If they can be diagnosed via their coughs, are they really asymptomatic?

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The whole series has been good, but lecture 8, which should be posted soon, was about testing for epidemiological screening and controlling the pandemic, and how that’s different from testing to treat a particular patient.

If you don’t notice any symptoms, but when you force a cough a computer thinks it sounds a little funny, are you symptomatic?

It can tell from a forced cough? I did not make that assumption.

If it can, that’s pretty cool. :sunglasses:

Yes, that’s the claim. They asked a lot of people to cough into a microphone, including some people stick with covid, some who felt healthy, but had positive covid tests, and mostly people who don’t have covid. They trained the data, and then tested it, and they say it was really good at identifying those who were covid positive.

What that means is that there really are symptoms, of course. Just symptoms too mild for the person to notice.

Wow, that’s super cool if it actually works then!

What is really interesting to me is that the AI tool that is being tested was originally intended to identify Alzheimer’s patients. It was pretty cool to see that they switched focus as the need arose.

I heard an interesting lecture on vaccine development from a guy who was previously working on an HIV vaccine. And i bought a sealed n90 mask that was developed to protect runners from pollution. There’s a lot of pivoting going on.

How difficult should it be to make an app for this?
Immediate diagnosis (no word on how long it takes?) is Priority #1.

I wonder how many of the COVID-negative people have a condition like bronchitis where a “normal cough” would be easy to generate on demand that isn’t “forced.”

Also, I’ve seen people who are really good at character-acting . . . they can watch some people–focusing on a specific trait–and then can replicate that trait very well. Wonder how they’d be classified.

Can’t you pretty much always cough on demand? I don’t have any lung conditions that I know of, but I can certainly cough if I want to.

Yes! Guys are asked to do it during their physicals (after turning our heads, of course).

My point is that a fake cough and a “natural” cough clearly have a difference in sound (that is one take away I see from that article). But in comparing those with COVID to those without . . . I would like to see how the model performs on ones without COVID but have another condition where the cough is a natural function. I have bronchitis that generally acts up in the fall (mid-Oct through mid-Dec). For the most part, I have a general urge to cough on an on-going basis; I would imagine that a “forced cough” during this time period would likely sound differently than a “forced cough” I might make during other times of the year.

Yeah, I feel like a normal part of an annual physical involves the doctor putting a stethoscope on my back and saying “take a deep breath…now cough…another deep breath…” None of that feels “forced” to me. I might have described it as voluntary rather than involuntary.

I’ve started having a runny nose, some sneezing, and a slight headache. What are the chances it’s COVID?

Initially they said sneezing was not a symptom of Covid, although I think they’ve since said it can happen. (No, I don’t recall who “they” is: a source I deemed credible when I read it over a year ago.)

Still, I think the sneezing makes it less likely that it’s Covid. You should still get tested just to be sure.

Feel better soon, whatever it is!

Also a slightly scratchy throat

CDC continues to not list sneezing as a symptom, FWIW. Their list:

Fever or chills


Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing


Muscle or body aches


New loss of taste or smell

Sore throat

Congestion or runny nose

Nausea or vomiting


That could well be post-nasal drip irritating the throat. Does it get better a couple of hours after you take pseudoephedrine or phenylephrine?

Sounds like a common cold, most likely. But again, get tested just to be sure.

Haven’t taken either of those. The throat was worst this morning though - not really a problem at the moment.