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Will someone at your Thanksgiving have COVID? This tool can help you predict

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(NEXSTAR) – Amid spiking coronavirus numbers and seemingly daily records for new U.S. cases, planning holiday travel or even a weekend drive can provoke anxiety. This peer-reviewed tool that shows the COVID-19 risk level anywhere in the country can aid in the decision-making process.

The free COVID-19 Risk Assessment Planning Tool was created by a group of researchers at Georgia Tech. Joshua Weitz, with the Georgia Institute of Technology, Biological Sciences, conceived of the tool in March to find context for both a halt to large gatherings as well as the planning of a future re-opening.

The COVID-19 Event Risk Assessment Planning Tool offers a county-by-county risk forecast based on gathering size. (Georgia Institute of Technology/Joshua Weitz and Clio Andris)

The map breaks down the country by county and uses a slider to change the size of a hypothetical event (look at the bottom left to find and adjust the size of the event you are currently viewing). The data assumes that there will be ten times more cases than are being reported, but that number is less in areas where testing is widely available.

The risk level is the estimated chance that there will be at least 1 person with COVID-19 at a given event.

A slider shows the changing risk forecast based on the number of people at a gathering. (Georgia Institute of Technology/Joshua Weitz and Clio Andris)

The slider allows the user to see the difference in risk between a lunch date among friends, for instance, or attending a packed bar – all in the same geographical area.

In Clark County, Nevada, where Las Vegas is located, attending an event with 10 people carries a 21% risk of a COVID-19 exposure. If that event has 100 attendees, for instance, the risk level jumps up to 91%.

“In a way it’s like a weather map,” Clio Andris, a professor of city and regional planning and interactive computing at Georgia Tech told the Los Angeles Times.

“It can tell you what the risk is that it will rain, but it can’t tell you if you’ll get wet,” said Andris, who helped build the tool. “That depends on if you carry an umbrella, or if you choose not to go outside at all.”

The map, which went live in July, is updated each day.

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