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Is it safe to go to a local store or school? Real-time COVID-19 risk calculator helps you decide

Is it safe to go to a local store or school? Real-time COVID-19 risk calculator helps you decide
[Photo: Daria Shevtsova/Unsplash]

Wondering whether it’s safe to go to the grocery store? Or attend a gathering? Or send kids back to school in your town? Look no further than Georgia Tech’s new Event Risk Assessment Planning Tool, which lets you see whether someone in a group near you is likely to have COVID-19.

To use the tool, simply choose the size of a gathering (10 people to 10,000 people) on the lower left slidebar, and then hover over your county, and the tool shows you the likelihood of someone in the group having an active COVID-19 infection. For example, as of today, there is a 100% chance that someone in a gathering of 100 people in Maricopa County, Arizona, will have COVID-19. That means that in every busy grocery store, there is likely someone with COVID-19.

This is immediately helpful in day-to-day decision-making, particularly in deciding whether or not to return kids to school, or whether attending an event is reasonably safe. The tool uses reported case count numbers from state departments of health and extrapolates the number of circulating cases. (Antibody tests have indicated that actual case counts are roughly 10 times higher than reported cases, according to the CDC.)

The pandemic has brought with it many great dashboards, but this is one might be the most useful to people in quantifying their likelihood of exposure. “The issue of understanding risks associated with gatherings is even more relevant as many kinds of businesses, including sports and universities, are considering how to re-open safely,” says tool cocreator Joshua Weitz, the director of Georgia Tech’s Ph.D. in quantitative biosciences.

Check out the risk assessment tool here.

[Screenshot via Georgia Tech]
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