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This is Your Risk of Catching COVID-19 Where You Are

Calculate your chances of contracting the coronavirus in a crowd near you.
Woman coughing covid

A new tool can predict your risk of contracting the coronavirus, based on the size of the gathering and where you are in the country.

That's the claim of its inventor Joshua Weitz, a professor of biological sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology.

"We're trying to communicate real-time risks so that people understand there are areas of the country where the risk is high and reinforces that need to wear masks and makes them think twice about whether that indoor gathering is essential," Weitz told NBC 7 San Diego.

For example, here are the chances that one person in a crowd of 100 has coronavirus in the following cities:

  • New York City: 40%
  • Los Angeles: 97%
  • Boston: 65%
  • Des Moines, Iowa: 92%
  • Fort Lauderdale, Florida: More than 99%

Risk Increases With Group Size

The tool uses data from public health departments nationwide and can be adjusted to the size of a theoretical gathering.

By comparison, the risk of getting COVID-19 from a ten-person group in Des Moines is 22%, and in Fort Lauderdale, it's 75%.

RELATED: I'm a Doctor and Here's How to Never Catch COVID-19 Indoors

Weitz hopes the tool can help local leaders determine when and how to reopen public spaces. "Why is it that our county is worse than in another? Are we doing something different? Yes, people want to restart the economy and get things open, but give community members the protections they deserve and need to keep themselves safe," Weitz said.

Avoiding Large Gatherings Is Key

Wearing masks and avoiding large gatherings are two key pieces of advice health officials have repeatedly given for coronavirus protection. On July 1, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and a key member of the White House coronavirus task force, said that indoor transmission—people "congregating in bars, congregating in crowds, people getting together in a celebratory way without wearing masks"—had largely driven this summer's surge in COVID-19 cases.

As of Aug. 7, the U.S. had recorded more than 4.8 million cases of coronavirus infection and 159,000 related deaths.

How You Can Stay Healthy

As for yourself, do everything you can to prevent getting—and spreading—COVID-19: Mask, get tested if you think you have coronavirus, avoid crowds (and bars, and house parties), practice social distancing, only run essential errands, wash your hands regularly, disinfect frequently touched surfaces, and to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don't miss these 37 Places You're Most Likely to Catch Coronavirus.

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