Risk Calculator Determines the Odds That a Thanksgiving Guest Has COVID-19

While experts say that fully vaccinated people can safely gather during the holidays, infections rates of COVID-19 are high and rising in many areas of the country. So, there’s a good chance that someone at your celebration could be infected with the virus. Now there’s a free online tool that can show you the odds that someone infected with COVID will be at your event, depending on the size of your gathering.

According to Fast Company, it is called the COVID-19 Event Risk Assessment Tool and was developed by the Georgia Institute of Technology. It calculates the percentage of risk that someone at the event you plan to attend may have COVID-19 based on the number of people gathering and how widespread the virus is in that county.

For example, if 10 people attend a dinner party in New York City, the chances that at least one person is infected is 6%, given the current case rate. If 25 people gather in a classroom in NYC, that percentage jumps to 11%. And if 100 people go to the movies together, the chances of one person being infected is 43%.

But if 10 people attend a dinner party in Big Horn, Mont., the chances that one person would be infected is 49%. And if 25 people are in the same classroom, the odds that one person would be infected is a whopping 82%, according to the online tool. The chances if 100 people attend the same movie theater is over 99%, says Fast Company.

The tool is an excellent way to help you determine the risks and benefits of holiday gatherings if you are concerned about COVID-19. The researchers say that to reduce the estimated risk that one case could become many is to wear masks, socially distance, and gather outdoors in smaller groups. If you are traveling out of the country, there is a global assessment tool also available.

According to the journal Nature, there are more risk-assessment tools you can use. One is called MyCOVIDRisk developed by Brown-Lifespan Center for Digital Health in Providence, R.I. It’s a simple, questionnaire-based app that gives users a sense of their infection risk based on their planned activity in a specific place or location. Another is called the 19 and Me calculator and was developed by New Jersey-based Mathematica, a policy-research company. It compiles information based not only on demographics, but also on personal behaviors, such as washing hands and mask wearing, to determine the risk of exposure to COVID-19.

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