Mission: To help Americans assess the risk that one or more individuals at an event they plan to attend is infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
Background: Created by researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology, Applied Bioinformatics Laboratory (ABiL), and Stanford University, the COVID-19 Event Risk Assessment Planning Tool calculates the risk level associated with attending a gathering or event. To that end, researchers at the participating institutions have developed a real-time, geo-localized, county-level risk assessment tool featuring an interactive map that displays the estimated chance (0-100%) that at least one COVID-19 positive individual will be present at an event, based on the size of the event. The overall goal is to promote informed behavior during the pandemic by quantifying virus-exposure risk in a way that is familiar to users of the tool.
Outstanding Web Features: The COVID-19 Event Risk Assessment Tool assumes that reported COVID-19 infections in the general population are the tip of the iceberg and allows visitors to select what it calls an ascertainment bias of either 5 or 10 (i.e., there are at least five or ten times as many cases than are actually being identified and reported). Using a slider, visitors also can select the size of the event, from 10 to 5,000 people, and the U.S. county where the event is to take place. (County-level results are also provided for much of Western Europe under a separate tab.) Under a "Real-Time U.S. and State-Level Estimates" tab, the tool calculates the risk level associated with events of various sizes by specific state, as well as the number of positive cases currently reported by that state. Users of the tool can also view continuous risk estimates for the U.S. based on real-time COVID-19 surveillance data, which, according to researchers, helps us understand the effects of potential under-testing and reporting of virus infections. "Precisely because of under-testing and the risk of exposure and infection," they add, "these risk calculations provide further support for the ongoing need for social distancing and protective measures."