Health officials have been warning about the need to limit gatherings amid the coronavirus pandemic – but a new interactive tool drives home the point by showing the risks of catching the deadly bug at any given location, according to a report.
The peer-reviewed COVID-19 Risk Assessment Planning Tool, created by researchers at Georgia Tech, is designed to help people understand the risks associated with gatherings of different sizes throughout the US and around the glove, the Los Angeles Times reported.
“In a way it’s like a weather map,” said Clio Andris, a Georgia Tech professor of city and regional planning and interactive computing who helped quantitative biologist Joshua Weitz build the tool.
“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,” Andris told the newspaper.
As an example, as of Friday, you’d have a 28 percent chance of encountering someone infected with the coronavirus in a Big Apple gathering of 50 people, according to the tool.
If you take part in a gathering of 100 people, meanwhile, the chance shoots up to 48 percent.
The interactive map is updated daily with the latest information on how many cases have been confirmed across every county in the nation, according to the LA Times.
The tool also assumes that the actual number of active cases is up to 10 times higher than what the official reports say, because not all cases will be caught by tests.
As of September, 2 million people had visited the site, which went live in July, according to the report.
As we move into the holiday season, Andris said she hoped more people will use the tool to help them make decisions about how many local friends and family to invite to their events and whether traveling is worth the risk.
“I can see a lot of people saying, ‘It’s been a hard year, and we really need to be with friends and family,’” she said. “I get that, and I hear that, but it’s going to have consequences.”