Professor develops tool that shows you county-by-county risk of exposure to COVID-19

Updated: Jul. 17, 2020 at 9:21 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - A professor at Georgia Tech came up with an idea in March to show people the risk of getting COVID-19.

He developed a team including members from Stanford to make it happen, and now hundreds of thousands of people are using the tool.

It depends on where you're going and how many people will be there.

“We know now that many of the superspreading events are associated with extended interactions indoors without masks,” said physicist turned biologist Joshua Weitz, a Georgia Tech professor.

The tool helps people judge if going to a football game with 100,000 people poses more risk than an intimate wedding.

“Should I go to this event or not? What are the risks associated that someone there might have COVID-19?” Weitz said.

They import data from the national COVID Tracking Project, allowing county-by-county risk assessments.

“The calculations, the mathematics are in some sense like flipping coins,” explains Weitz.

And the more coins, the greater the odds.

“When you flip a lot of coins, and even if there’s a small chance that one turns up the wrong way, eventually in a large crowd, that’s going to be the outcome,” he says.

The tool offers estimates of risk for groups from 100 to 100,000.

In Jefferson County, at an event with 500 people, the likelihood that at least one person has COVID-19 is 99%.

“If this website is successful in reducing its own visits, because it helps reduce transmission and risk goes down, that would be success,” said Weitz.

You can check out the tool by clicking here.

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