WebMD launches coronavirus symptom checker

Users can create a profile, input their symptoms and receive a specified list of next steps in return

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Digital medical news publisher WebMD has launched an online coronavirus symptom checker, the platform announced on Tuesday.

The new COVID-19 Symptom Checker tool will allow people who are concerned that they may have COVID-19 symptoms to create a profile, input their symptoms and receive a specified list of next steps in return.

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"The COVID-19 Symptom Checker guides someone to specific action steps they should take based on the likelihood that they have the condition, have been exposed to COVID-19, and their risk of serious illness," WebMD Chief Medical Director Michael W. Smith, M.D., MBA, CPT, said in a Tuesday statement.

WebMD COVID-19 Symptom Checker / WebMD.com

He added that the platform "is designed to help address the current uncertainty about what someone should do based on their risk and potentially help alleviate undue stress on the already overburdened health care system."

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The cumulative overall COVID-19 hospitalizations is 12.3 people per 100,000, according to the CDC. A New York University study published Saturday found that "the most important features" for hospital admissions were age and obesity; patients who are 65 or older have the highest rate of hospitalizations.

The tool delivers guidance to users based on recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, according to a press release.

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"As WebMD physicians, we saw that people were dealing with a great deal of confusion and fear about COVID-19," WebMD Lead Medical Director Brunilda Nazario, M.D., said. "We designed the COVID-19 Symptom Checker to address that anxiety and bring some clarity."

While WebMD offers easily accessible information on COVID-19, the website has been known to stoke fear in those who look up minor symptoms and get scary results that can be far from what they are actually experiencing. WebMD makes clear on its website that it is not a diagnostic tool.

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The COVID-19 symptom checker is different, however, because it is geared toward people who are already under the assumption that they may be carrying the virus.

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