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This new online tool allows you to pinpoint the exact risk of catching the coronavirus when you’re out in public

COVID risk calculator
Photo via COVID-19 Event Risk Assessment Planning Tool/Georgia Tech

Can’t decide whether to attend a Thanksgiving dinner this year? Or even the grocery store? Now there’s a way to help assess the risk of attending events anywhere in the U.S. If you want to know where the coronavirus risks are, this COVID risk calculator can help.

The COVID-19 Risk Assessment Planning Tool was built by a team of researchers at Georgia Tech. It provides percentage estimates for how likely you are to come in contact with at least one COVID-19 positive individual while out in public. The data is displayed on a map broken down into counties. After hovering to their place of residence, users can adjust a slider indicating how many people they think will be at a given event or place. The map will then tell you the chances of coming in contact with a COVID-19 positive individual from 0-100%. 

The page is updated every day and delivers data for every county in the U.S. and for many countries in Europe. The tool also assumes cases are 10% higher than reported. 

The idea was initially developed in March by Joshua Weitz, a quantitative biologist at Georgia Tech looking to give people a quick and easy way to assess the risk of leaving the house to see where the coronavirus risks are. After the COVID risk calculator went live in July, the tool reached 2 million visitors by September. Now as cases surge again around the world, it will be vital to helping people make decisions about holiday plans. As far as making the decision goes, that remains on the individual.  

“In a way it’s like a weather map,” Clio Andris, a professor at Georgia Tech who helped build the tool, told the Los Angeles Times. “It can tell you what the risk is that it will rain, but it can’t tell you if you’ll get wet. That depends on if you carry an umbrella, or if you choose not to go outside at all.”

In late November, the map showed a higher risk in areas of the U.S. currently experiencing surges in cases, namely parts of the greater Midwest. North Dakota and South Dakota, for instance, were being hit hard by the coronavirus, as was Kansas and Wyoming. Some counties are even showing a 75% risk at events with as little as 25 people.

Check out the online tool for more information. 

Sources: COVID-19 Risk Assessment Planning Tool, Los Angeles Times


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