Researchers at Indianapolis-based Regenstrief Institute are asking people to help collect data on mask usage through a new web app.
The institute has tracked data throughout the pandemic on cases, positivity rates and hospitalizations. Regenstrief President and CEO Dr. Peter Embi says the MaskCount app makes it easier to track widespread data.
“We wanted to create an app that protected everyone's privacy, but allowed people to share what they were seeing so that we can have better data on mask wearing,” Embi said.
MaskCount lets users swipe or tap to indicate whether someone is wearing a mask. The location is marked, but no other identifying information is included.
“And by having a lot of people do that in an area, we can get a good sense of the degree to which people are wearing masks or not wearing masks in a particular area,” Embi said.
Embi said the data will be sent to a secure server and then put into a dashboard. He said the data could help contain the spread of the virus.
“We're going to share the data so that those that are making policies or trying to study the effects of masks and whether they're helping us control the pandemic,” he said.
MaskCount is accessible on both Apple and Android devices. The app is free and available in 15 languages.