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Live Map Lets You Track The Risk Of Catching Covid-19 At Events In Your Area

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Tom Hale

author

Tom Hale

Senior Journalist

Tom is a writer in London with a Master's degree in Journalism whose editorial work covers anything from health and the environment to technology and archaeology.

Senior Journalist

The Covid-19 Event Risk Assessment Planning Tool is a collaborative project led by Professor Joshua Weitz/Professor Clio Andris from the Georgia Institute of Technology, as well as the Applied Bioinformatics Laboratory/Stanford University, and powered by RStudio.

What’s the risk of catching Covid-19 at a small party in an area with a sky-high infection rate? Or perhaps the chance of being infected at a jam-packed stadium in a low-risk city? This interactive real-time dashboard helps you to assess the risk of different events in your local area with the help of up-to-date case reports and data.

The new interactive dashboard was developed by scientists at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta with the hope of providing the public, as well as policymakers, with data-driven information that can help them to make informed decisions regarding their risk of Covid-19 at events. 

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You can view the online dashboard right here. The science behind the dashboard’s creation was reported on November 9 in the journal Nature Human Behaviour.

“Our goal from the outset was to communicate the continued risk of gatherings with respect to the transmission of Covid-19, and stress the importance of taking steps — like mask-wearing — to ensure that one case does not become many,” study author Joshua S Weitz, a professor and director of the Interdisciplinary PhD in Quantitative Biosciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology, told IFLScience. 

The risk level is estimated by working out the chance of at least one Covid-19 positive individual attending an event in a county given the size of the event. The information is all backed up by data obtained via serological surveys from each population to estimate real-time circulating infection rates.

“The site estimates the risk that one (or more than 20) individuals may have Covid-19 in events of different sizes. Which means that it's up to us to take steps to reduce that risk, by reconsidering attending events, physical distancing, or wearing a mask when physical distancing is not feasible,” they added. 

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So, for example, let’s take a look at a few different locations. You’ll see that the current risk (as of November 10, 2020) of attending a small event of 10 people in Norton County in Kansas is over 99 percent, according to the map. That means there’s over a 99 percent chance that someone attending that event has Covid-19. Alternatively, currently attending an event of 50 people at Palm Beach County in Florida is 56 percent, meaning there’s a 56 percent chance that someone attending that event has Covid-19. 

“Even if circulating cases seemed low, the risk can actually be quite high in larger groups,” explained Weitz. 

Of course, the dashboard can only work from confirmed data about Covid-19 cases, so it might not necessarily take into account the role of asymptomatic people who are unaware they are infected. 

"A reminder — particularly as we approach the holidays with cases risings — that it is essential to be mindful that with many asymptomatic cases that individuals take steps to have a different approach to gatherings, and to avoid bringing Covid-19 home with them to their families," he added.

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The dashboard initially focused on the US, but they have since expanded the dashboard to include data from Spain, France, Italy, Switzerland, Czech Republic, and the UK. Weitz said they hope to add more countries to the portal in the near future. 

For a broader look at the stats and figures of the Covid-19 pandemic across the world, be sure to check out the live dashboard developed by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University. 


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