Tool allows people to calculate COVID-19 risk of attending Thanksgiving

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — With COVID-19 cases spiking North Alabama and across the country, data experts have created an easy-to-use online tool to help people planning holiday gatherings do a quick risk assessment.

Developed by researchers at Georgia Tech, the COVID-19 Event Risk Assessment Planning Tool allows you to figure out what the likelihood is of someone attending your Thanksgiving gathering with COVID-19, based on the number of people attending, and by state or county.

“It’s fairly difficult for most people to figure out what it means when people say there are 100,000 COVID-19 infections today,” said Dr. Aroon Chande, a lead developer of the tool. “It’s really hard to take that number and then directly say oh maybe I shouldn’t do this activity.”

The tool is particularly helpful for those planning to travel to a region where they’re unfamiliar with the current COVID-19 infection rates, but it is just as useful for people planning to stay local.

Using Madison County as an example, the tool shows you would have an 11 percent chance of bumping into someone at Thanksgiving with COVID-19 at a 10 person gathering. That likelihood jumps to 26 percent when you add 15 more people. If you add even more people or go to multiple Thanksgiving gatherings, the risk goes up.

“If you do happen to go to one person’s house for Thanksgiving together, then to another person’s house for a second get-together, those risks are additive, it’s not like they’re two separate events,” said Chande.

A link to the COVID-19 Event Risk Assessment Planning Tool is available here.

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