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NBA players could wear smart rings to detect COVID-19 symptoms

NBA players will reportedly use a wearable to track their health and look for COVID-19 symptoms when the season resumes in late July.

The smart ring, made by Oura Health, will provide early warning signs if a player is in danger of contracting the coronavirus and could help track coronavirus symptoms up to three days before they show up.

This directive follows a memo by the National Basketball Players Association to its players this week laying out several safety measures that will be implemented when the season restarts at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando.

The Oura Rinf tracks temperature, breathing, respiratory rate, heart patterns and sleeping patterns. The West Virginia University Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute (RNI) and WVU Medicine partnered with Oura to develop a digital platform designed to find COVID-19 symptoms in advance.

According to RNI’s results from its first phase of the study, released in late May, their technology – which uses a combination of an app, the Oura Ring and artificial intelligence models – was able to predict the onset of COVID-19 symptoms with over 90% accuracy.

“This technology can potentially serve as a critical decision making tool to help contain the spread of the virus, safely re-open communities, strengthen the economy, and facilitate public health containment strategies,” RNI’s press release said.

However, some critics have pointed out that Oura smart ring could be put to better use with essential workers like doctors, nurses, medical staff and teachers, rather than NBA players.

But in response to the criticism, a spokesperson for Oura told CBS News that the company has been a part of COVID-19 research efforts and have donated thousands of rings to frontline health care workers.

The NBA is resuming its season on July 30, with players staying at three separate Disney World resorts.

The ring costs $299.

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