As the Delta variant forces us to change strategies when dealing with COVID-19, more tools are available to give us a hand. Each state has its own policies and rate of infection, which also factor into the mix.
The Mayo Clinic has an interactive map that shows a rolling average of daily COVID cases for the past week across the U.S. It also has an option to look ahead for two weeks. Tap or click here for more information on this helpful tool.
Tracking the spread of the virus is one thing, but wouldn’t you also like to get an idea of how likely you are to get infected? A new online tool is aiming to do just that. Read on for more details.
Knowing the odds
The microCOVID Project uses your location, activity level, and acceptance of risk to give you an idea of how vulnerable you are to contracting COVID-19. The metric is measured in “microCOVIDs.” One microCOVID is a one-in-a-million chance of getting COVID. Each time you participate in an activity, such as grocery shopping or going on a date, your budget is affected.
For most healthy people who aren’t around vulnerable people such as the elderly or immunocompromised, the creators of the microCOVID Project suggest that an annual risk budget of a 1% chance of catching COVID is “reasonable.” This comes out to 10,000 microCOVIDs in a year.
According to the tool, “An activity that’s 20,000 microCOVIDs means that you have a 2% risk of getting COVID every time you do it. An activity that’s 20 microCOVIDs (or 0.002%) is relatively safe, as you could do it every week for a year and still have only accumulated about a 0.1% chance of getting COVID.”
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Using the tools
The microCOVID Project lets you build a scenario to figure out your weekly risk. First, enter your location by state and county. Now enter details of a scenario. You can choose from a list of premade scenarios that include a plane ride, outdoor party or eating at a restaurant. Alternatively, you can select a custom scenario.
Next, select your vaccine status, how many people are nearby, how long you are out for, the risk profile of those close to you and their vaccine status (of course, you may not know these latter two factors).
Now choose your precautions. Are you inside or outside? Are you masked or unmasked? Are the people around you wearing masks or not? How loud are they talking?
Once you’ve entered the data, check out the results underneath Step 2. How close are you to your risk budget? Multiply your result by 50 to see your annual budget if you do that activity once a week.
Let’s create a scenario here. You are a fully vaccinated resident of Queens County, New York and go to a bar where an average of five friends are within six feet of you. The other people are vaccinated, and the bar is indoors. Nobody is wearing a mask, and everyone is talking at average volume. You are out for three hours.
In this scenario, you hit 1,700 microCOVIDs, which is 8.5x your weekly budget. This means your chance of catching COVID for that one time is .17%, but if you have similar nights out every week for a year, your annual risk is 8.5%.
Like any online tool, use this as a guide to help you make informed decisions. But you cannot rely exclusively on these figures. Nothing is guaranteed when it comes to tracking COVID-19. The creators note that “this work has not been scientifically peer-reviewed.” Follow your local recommended guidelines.
The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have regarding a medical condition, advice, or health objectives.