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Visiting family and friends for Christmas? Use this map to see the risk

The number of COVID-19 cases started spiking again recently. Medical experts believe it’s due to a combination of cold weather across the U.S. and a large number of gatherings that occurred over the Thanksgiving holiday. Let’s face it, people are getting tired of being quarantined.

The phenomenon is known as “pandemic fatigue,” and nearly everyone can agree that the interruptions to our way of life have gotten old by now. Some states are now trying to help you avoid being exposed to people who have the virus. Tap or click here to see if your state has an exposure notification app.

With Christmas and the holiday season upon us, many families wonder if it’s safe to gather despite the pandemic. The answer depends on where you live, and this calculator can help you and your loved ones determine your risk.

I miss visiting with my family, but is it worth the risk?

At this point, we all miss going shopping with friends or sharing a meal with family members. Socializing is important to mental health, and let’s face it, there are only so many TV shows to stream.

Tap or click here for binge-worthy programming added to Netflix.

But loneliness shouldn’t be a reason to put your health in danger. Many states have seen a record-breaking number of coronavirus cases just this week.

RELATED: Warning: These toxic hand sanitizers have killed and blinded people

So, if you’re worried about gathering for Christmas or attending a neighbor’s holiday party, you’re not alone. If you live in a COVID hotspot, there’s a good chance that someone attending a large gathering is infected.

The COVID-19 Event Risk Assessment Planning Tool will show you your risk factors for attending different gatherings, taking into account location and number of attendees.

How to use the risk assessment planning tool

This tool is informative and easy to use. Before we dive into how to use it, remember that the CDC warns the number of people infected with COVID at any given moment is actually 10 times that of reported cases.

CDC Director Robert Redfield said at the end of June there were 2.4 million confirmed cases in the U.S., but the number was realistically closer to 24 million based on antibody tests. Georgia Tech’s risk assessment tool takes this into account when calculating your risks.

You may also like: FBI warns scammers are stealing sensitive info with fake COVID tests

Now, onto using the calculator. To begin, tap or click here to visit the site hosting the tool.

The risk level is the estimated chance (0 to 100%) that at least one COVID-19 positive individual will be present at an event in a county, given the size of the event.

Begin by choosing an event size. You can select anywhere from 10 to 10,000 attendees. Do this by sliding the toggle under “Event Size” found on the left side of the page.

After you’ve chosen an event size, hover your cursor over the U.S. map on the county you’re curious about. Each county in every state is represented, so you can easily find data on your local area.

Georgia Institute of Technology

Let’s look at the Arizona county where Komando headquarters is located, Maricopa. When this article was written, if you attend a gathering of just 10 people in Maricopa County, there is a 37% chance someone there has COVID-19.

Change the number of people to 25, and the risk jumps to a 68% chance of an infected attendee. Even scarier, visit a place where 100 people have gathered, and there is a 99% chance someone there has COVID-19. Yikes!

These are just a couple of examples from Arizona, but data is available for almost every populated area in the country. It’s an eye-opening tool that might make you rethink leaving the house for non-essential reasons like holiday shopping.

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