The Apple Watch 6 has blood oxygen detection for early coronavirus symptoms warning

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You may have heard, but oxygen saturation is one of the indicators that your lungs may be giving up the ghost amidst the coronavirus pandemic. While doctors are trained to immediately put you on oxygen or worse, on a ventilator, after a certain threshold is reached, for coronavirus patients that number seems to be much lower than usual, according to emergency physician Dr Richard Levitan in a New York Times op-ed.

Apple Watch 6 pulse oximeter features

  • Brand new Watch 6 sensors
  • 10 seconds to a first blood oxygen readout
  • Blood Oxygen App
  • Periodic measurements in real time
  • Alerts for low blood oxygen

Enter Apple's new watchOS 7 system on the Watch Series 6 that now introduces what smartwatches from Huawei and even smart bracelets from Fitbit and others have had for a while now - blood oxygen saturation measurements with the new Blood Oxygen App.

From а pulse meter, through an oximeter to VO2Max activity reports, the Apple Watch Series 6 now has plenty of sensors to cover all the basics, and then some. The new blood oxygen sensor is made up of four LED clusters and four photodiodes. Incorporated into the completely redesigned back crystal, this new sensor works in concert with the Blood Oxygen app to determine your blood oxygen level.

The oximeter takes only 15 seconds to record the first measurement, and can be set to monitor your levels in real time, yet in a battery-saving mode, and the stats include min/max rate for the day so far, as well as alerts if it goes dangerously low. 

With COVID-19 patients sometimes looking active and alert with blood oxygen levels down to the fiftieth or sixtieth percentile, a Watch 6 warning feature may prove to be quite the bonanza for health professionals. Apple is even partnering with several university research projects, just like it did for its Watch 5 heart rate and ECG features, in order to put the new pulse oximetry on Watch 6 to a good use.

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