The Corona Data Donation Project is one of the largest citizen science initiatives worldwide. From 2020 to 2022, more than 120,000 German residents donated continuous daily measurements of resting heart rate, physical activity and sleep timing for the advancement of public health research. These valuable data streams were collected passively through a dedicated smartphone app, seamlessly connecting with participants’ fitness trackers and smartwatches. Additionally, users actively engaged in regular surveys, sharing insights into their health and well-being during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The resulting unique combination of survey and vital data enabled us to explore a wide range of public health-related questions. In particular, I will present (i) our design of a real-time monitoring system for population-wide COVID-19 disease burden based on wearable data, (ii) estimations of prolonged physical distress after a SARS-CoV-2 infection in terms of anomalous heart rate, activity and sleep, (iii) regional patterns in human sleep where residents of large urban areas increasingly deviate from a natural rhythm as well as (iv) the overall positive effects of regular activity and healthy sleep rhythms on self-assessed mental wellbeing.
Ultimately, I will showcase our team’s outreach activities to keep participants engaged and discuss the potential that lies in digital tools like the Corona Data Donation Project for mobilizing significant shares of the general public to address the contemporary challenges of our time.