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NBA players can wear smart rings to detect COVID-19 symptoms when season returns

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NBA players will have the option of wearing a smart-tech ring that could provide early detection of COVID-19 symptoms when the season resumes in late July. The rings, made by Oura Health, were the focus of a study that found they could help track coronavirus symptoms up to three days before they show up.

The National Basketball Players Association sent out a memo earlier 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. Among them, the option of wearing Oura rings, The Athletic first reported. 

Initially marketed as a sleep tracking device, the Oura Ring monitors physiological data such as temperature, breathing and heart 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. 

Oura Ring help track data such as temperature and heart rates. Now, the NBA player can use them to track COVID-19 symptoms.  Oura

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. 

More than 600 healthcare professionals and first responders took part in the study's first phase. The study is growing to include an additional 10,000 participants across the United States, including New York and California, according to RNI. 

The ring costs $299 and some critics online say the technology could be put to better use with frontline workers rather than NBA players.. 

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. 

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