MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) — What if you knew the likelihood of being exposed to COVID-19 at a certain event or gathering? A new interactive map shows an estimated COVID-19 risk level in every county in the nation.
It’s called the COVID-19 Event Risk Assessment Planning Tool. The tool is a map that shows the risk of encountering COVID-19 at a gathering based on the gathering size and location.
As many are preparing to travel for the holidays despite the surge in coronavirus cases, Dr. Ray Holt with McLeod Health said the map could be useful.
“We’re expecting a big bump in numbers after the Thanksgiving holiday of COVID positive people,” Dr. Holt said.
The map was created by two Georgia Tech professors Joshua Weitz and Clio Andris back in July. Since then it’s had over 2 million users.
“What we do is we get case rates from the New York Times we divide them by the population at that county,” said assistant professor Andris. “Then we include an ascertainment bias meaning how many people may have COVID but may be asymptomatic,” she said.
The map is updated daily. To determine the approximate risk of exposure one must select the number of people that will be at a gathering and then select the county.
While the map may be insightful there is one thing it will not show.
“The map will not tell you the chances that you’re going to contract COVID,” Andris said.
“That depends on the precautions you’re taking. Whether you’re wearing a mask, whether you’re outdoors, whether your doing social distancing and keeping 6-feet apart,” she explained.
Andris said the map shouldn’t act as a permission slip to get with friends and family, but instead to have an idea of whether Thanksgiving dinner is worth the risk.
Doctor Holt is asking folks to reconsider getting together with friends and family for the holidays, as he is already expecting an even higher spike in coronavirus infections after Thanksgiving.
To view the interactive map, click here.