Des Moines natives launch app to help track COVID-19

Pinterest CEO Ben Silbermann has partnered with Feng Zhang of MIT’s McGovern Institute, along with many other leading doctors and scientists to launch a new app called “How We Feel”, which allows Americans to self-report how they’re feeling, healthy or not.

The app prompts people to self-report their age, gender, zip code and any health symptoms. Health check-ins take less than a minute, but they could help researchers reveal outbreak hotspots and save lives. This data then goes to a group of scientists from MIT, Harvard, Stanford, Penn and other schools studying the disease.

“Aggregate data is securely shared with researchers, scientists and public health professionals. The data can help predict new outbreaks, identify at-risk populations, and better understand the efficacy of public health measures,” wrote Silbermann in a Facebook post announcing the app. “Self-reported data is especially valuable right now because of the lack of widespread testing.”

The first time someone downloads the app and completes a health check-in, How We Feel will donate a meal to people in need through Feeding America — for up to 10 million meals.

Silbermann and Zhang are both Des Moines natives and longtime friends. The two are former high school classmates, both having graduated from Des Moines’ Roosevelt High School.

The How We Feel app is available for download today in the U.S. on iOS and Android, and through the web at

At Clay & Milk, we want to tell stories about the many ways entrepreneurs and startups are stepping up to combat coronavirus. Fill out this form to tell us your story and we will be in touch.