Risk tool used to urge caution as Covid-19 cases surge

January 11, 2022

Recently there have been record-breaking numbers of Covid-19 infections and hospitalizations, likely caused by the Omicron variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. In spite of rising cases, many large events have been continuing as scheduled.

The Covid-19 Event Risk Assessment Planning Tool has been used to urge caution for high-risk events. Featured in the Atlanta Journal Constitution’s Get Schooled blog, the tool was used to highlight high risk levels for groups of 25 – the average classroom size – in the metro Atlanta area. The tool was also featured in the Indianapolis Star, where it was used to express concerns over the 2021 College Football Championship game. Taking place on January 10th, the game drew over 100,000 football fans from Georgia and Alabama to Indianapolis.

If you’d like to learn more about the risk levels at the next event you’re considering attending, visit use the Covid-19 Event Risk Assessment Planning Tool.

Follow the tool at @covid19riskUSA on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter to stay up to date on additional media features, risk updates, and news.

More about the tool

Since its inception in July of 2020, over 8 million people have used the Covid-19 Event Risk Assessment Planning Tool to gauge Covid-19 exposure risk. Created by members of the Weitz Group, (Prof. Weitz, Dr. Stephen Beckett, and Quan Nguyen) in collaboration with the Applied Bioinformatics Laboratory and Clio Andris, a professor of city and regional planning and interactive computing at Georgia Tech, this tool uses real-time Covid-19 case data to calculate the county-level risk of exposure to Covid-19 at events of different sizes. For example, the tool can estimate how likely it is that at least one person has Covid-19 at a in a 25-person classroom.

As the tool has grown its development has continued. A new collaboration with cognitive neuroscientists at Duke University has led to the addition of interactive elements to the site. Users can now see examples of events of different sizes, such as noting that a 50-person event is similar to what one would encounter at a restaurant or a grocery store. People are also encouraged to test their knowledge of the risk levels in their area with a risk quiz.

To learn more about the science behind the tool, read our paper in Nature Human Behavior. Visit our Covid-19 Research page to learn more about our other research on Covid-19.

I’m worried about the risk in my area – what can I do?

If the risk levels in your area have you worried about seeing family over the holiday season, there are things you can do to reduce the chance of spreading Covid-19.

Get vaccinated. If you or your loved ones haven’t already, getting the Covid-19 vaccine will vastly reduce your chance of infection, the severity of breakthrough infections, and the risk of spreading infection.
Get tested. Even if you don’t have symptoms, some cases of Covid-19 are asymptomatic. Getting tested for Covid-19 will help ensure that you are not unknowingly exposing loved ones to the virus.
Wear a mask. Wearing a mask when possible will reduce the risk of spread.
Improve ventilation. Hosting celebrations outdoors when possible dramatically decreases the chance of spread. If that is not feasible, increasing ventilation in indoor areas by opening windows or using air purifiers can help.
Reduce the size of your gathering. With fewer people, the chances that at least one person has Covid-19 are reduced.
Keep your distance. Social distancing when possible is a great preventative step.