The COVID-19 symptom surveys are designed to help policymakers and health researchers better monitor and forecast the spread of COVID-19.
In partnership with University of Maryland’s Joint Program in Survey Methodology and Carnegie Mellon University’s Delphi Research Group, we invite people on Facebook to participate in surveys that ask about how they are feeling, including any symptoms they or members of their household have experienced and their risk factors for contracting COVID-19.
The surveys are designed to provide valuable information to help monitor and forecast how COVID-19 may be spreading, without trading off the privacy of the people who took the surveys. Facebook does not share who took the surveys with our academic partners, and they do not share individual survey responses with us.
With over 2 billion people on Facebook, we are in a unique position to support public health research. We have partnered with trusted academic and nonprofit institutions to build a research network to address some of the world's greatest humanitarian issues. We're currently using our platform to deploy symptom surveys to support ongoing COVID-19 research and help inform public health decisions.
In addition to publicly available data offered by our partners, academic and nonprofit researchers around the world may request access to non-public, non-aggregated survey data for their research.
Who Uses Symptom Survey Data
New insights can help policymakers determine where to send resources, such as ventilators and personal protective equipment, or which areas are safe to start opening again. The data can also help health systems predict needs for hospital beds.
Public health officials
Public health officials can use this data to monitor changes in population dynamics and how these affect COVID-19 cases and spread as physical distancing policies around the world begin to change.
Researchers can use the data to study COVID-19, such as how the pandemic is affecting population movement trends, and understand which areas may be at risk of an outbreak based on population characteristics and symptoms.
Covid Disparities in the United States
As Covid-19 has spread throughout the United States, poor and minority neighborhoods have been particularly hard-hit. According to an ongoing survey of more than 10 million Facebook users, respondents in the poorest quartile of zipcodes have been 63 percent more likely than other respondents to have tested positive for the coronavirus. Respondents in minority-majority zipcodes have tested positive at a rate 58 percent higher than respondents in zipcodes with a majority of non-Hispanic whites.
Wear a mask? Yes, always wear a mask.
The Institute for Health Metrics & Evaluation used the Symptom Survey to evaluate mask use and concluded that mask use can reduce the risk of respiratory illness like COVD-19 by one-third or more.
IHME Finds Mask-wearing and Other Measures Could Prevent Over 60,000 Deaths in Sub-Saharan Africa by December 1
In new COVID-19 projections for sub-Saharan Africa, the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington forecasts that nearly universal adherence to mask-wearing and social distancing mandates in hard-hit countries could prevent up to 60,125 deaths in the region by December 1.
New and Improved COVID Symptom Survey Tracks Testing and Mask-Wearing
Beginning in early April 2020, the Delphi group has conducted a major survey to track COVID-19 across the United States. With the support of Facebook Data for Good, we have been able to recruit tens of thousands of active Facebook users every day to take our voluntary survey. Concurrently, a University of Maryland team has conducted a parallel international effort covering over 100 countries worldwide. Every day, we aggregate our survey results to produce estimates of symptoms for counties and states across the United States.
In the News
To start working with this data in a visualized format, please click below to visit the COVID-19 Interactive Map & Dashboard. For researchers interested in data access, please visit: https://dataforgood.fb.com/docs/covid-19-symptom-survey-request-for-data-access/.