Nov. 9, 2020 — Because the coronavirus pandemic begins its ninth month and the variety of COVID-19 cases within the U.S. nears 10 million, it is human nature to marvel: What’s my danger of getting contaminated?

And the reply is way from easy.

“A person’s likelihood relies upon closely upon their location and their danger components, equivalent to age and occupation, and upon the unpredictable future course of the pandemic,” says Natalie E. Dean, PhD, an assistant professor of biostatistics on the College of Florida in Gainesville. And the longer term course, she says, is determined by whether or not new restrictions shall be added or relaxed and different components. “So it’s a advanced query.”

It is a bit simpler to reply the query when it’s extra particular, says Susan Holmes, PhD, a professor of statistics at Stanford College. Take a look at an infection charges in your space to assist learn how dangerous it could be to buy groceries or use public transportation.

“Proper now, the chance of contracting COVID is totally different in Wisconsin than in California, so every of those possibilities is a operate of the prevalence of contagious individuals in your neighborhood, areas you go to, and the way protected you and others are with masks, air flow, bodily distancing.”

Utilizing Threat Calculators

A wide range of calculators and different instruments might help predict particular person danger — or how dangerous the scenario or occasion is. Here’s a sampling.

Threat of contact with an contaminated particular person: Researchers on the Georgia Institute of Expertise and Stanford College labored collectively to develop a tool that estimates how doubtless it’s that at the least one particular person at any occasion of a given dimension in a particular location is infectious.

“We try to speak the chance of potential publicity,” says Joshua S. Weitz, PhD, a Patton distinguished professor of organic sciences on the Georgia Institute of Expertise.

Taking the scale of the occasion under consideration, the chance degree is the estimated likelihood, from zero to 100%, that at the least one particular person current shall be COVID-19-positive. The researchers assumed there are often 10 instances extra instances than are being reported, though which will drop to 5 instances in areas which have extra testing.

As an illustration, on Nov. 5, the prospect that at the least one particular person is contaminated at a 50-person gathering in Los Angeles was 69%; when that gathering was restricted to fifteen individuals, the chance was 29%.

Being involved with somebody contaminated, Weitz says, ”is simply step one in a sequence of transmission.” Among the many different issues that have an effect on your danger, after all, is whether or not the occasion is inside or exterior, and the extent of safety equivalent to sporting masks and social distancing.

Threat of an infection whereas touring: Holmes of Stanford suggests turning to CDC information to evaluate particular dangers of contracting COVID-19 throughout journey.

As an illustration, brief journeys by automotive with members of your family solely and no stops are lowest-risk; flights with layovers are among the many highest-risk methods to journey. Trip leases with family members solely is lower-risk than bed-and-breakfast lodgings. Dormitory-style hostels are highest-risk.

Personalised COVID danger device: Consultants from Brown College and Lifespan developed a device referred to as My COVID Risk. It assesses danger when collaborating in on a regular basis actions, rating danger from low to excessive.

As an illustration, going to an indoor gymnasium close to Los Angeles with 20 individuals current for an hour, all sporting masks, carries a medium danger of an infection. Lowering the time to a half-hour, with 5 individuals, all masked, makes the exercise low-risk.

Taking a 1-hour stroll open air in Boston with 5 individuals, all masked, may be very low-risk.

“There is not only one reply,” says Weitz. “Take into consideration danger throughout a spectrum.”

WebMD Well being Information


Susan Holmes, PhD, professor of statistics, Stanford College, Stanford, CA.

Joshua S. Weitz, PhD, Patton distinguished professor of organic sciences, Georgia Institute of Expertise, Atlanta.

Natalie E. Dean, PhD, assistant professor of biostatistics, College of Florida, Gainesville.

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