Online COVID-19 tool shows risk potential during gatherings like Thanksgiving

Online COVID-19 tool shows risk potential during gatherings like Thanksgiving
Online COVID-19 tool shows risk potential during gatherings like Thanksgiving (Source: Georgia Tech)

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Thanksgiving is just one week away and many people across the state are still deciding on the safest ways to host a holiday meal and an online tool could help.

It’s a COVID-19 risk tracker. It calculates someone’s risk of catching the virus if they are planning to travel or host a party for the holiday.

It was developed by researchers at Georgia Tech. It’s called the “COVID 19 Event Risk Assessment Planning Tool.”

“I think it is very good,” Dr. Karen Landers with the Alabama Department of Public Health said. “Especially, given a lot of people’s concerns about being in groups.”

The tool is broken down by county. The color coded map shows what the likelihood is of someone at your dinner table having COVID-19 depending on the size of your party.

“I think the larger the gathering, the more important this tool becomes,” Dr. Landers said. “A caution that I would have is for people to be aware that those percentages are still rough and those percentages are still general.”

The tool’s risk level is put into percentages. In Jefferson County, a gathering of 25 people is a 41% risk. If you bump the gathering down to 10 people, it becomes a 19% risk.

The risk may be smaller with less people, but Dr. Landers said it’s still a high number.

“If we are looking at anything that is more than just a few percent risk then that is substantial for you,” Landers said. “I can’t really pull out a percentage that I am specifically comfortable with in COVID. If you look at 5-10% risk in COVID, I mean that is significant.”

Risk levels vary by county and state, but Dr. Landers said just because a risk may be low, you still need to consider your risk tolerance.

“What is our overall health condition,” Landers said. “What about the kind of people we will be around? What about the kind of work we have to go back to?”

Dr. Landers said it is another helpful tool to use to help keep your family safe.

“I think this is a way to use technology to give us information that we can practically utilize in this very unprecedented situation,” Landers said.

You can check out the tool by clicking here.

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