Website calculates your chance of contracting coronavirus during Thanksgiving gathering

'It’s loose estimates, but it's giving you a gauge,' developer says
Posted at 6:30 PM, Nov 18, 2020

If you're visiting family over the holiday, what's your risk of coming in contact with COVID? A Florida professor has a tool to help calculate that.

University of South Florida epidemiologist Jason Salemi created this web tool recently.

It determines the chance of coming in contact with a COVID-19 case, based on a gathering's size and location.

"You can plop in how many people are going to get together in a meeting," said Salemi. "It will give you an estimate as to what are your chances of encountering a person who is infected with the virus."

Salemi's program was inspired by researchers at Georgia Tech who constructed a similar national application. The professor, however, uses more granular data from Florida Health.

Jason Salemi
University of South Florida professor Jason Salemi says his tool calculates the chance of coming in contact with COVID-19 based on a gathering's size and location.

"It's giving you a gauge," said Salemi. "So, for example, if you type in that you're getting together with 50 people and it says your chance of encountering someone is over 99%, that’s probably a dangerous setting to get into, even with mitigation efforts."

For gatherings of 10 people, the tool shows most of the state has a below 15% chance of COVID-19 contact. But Salemi warns Floridians should still take every precaution; socially distance, protect the vulnerable and consider staying home.

The Centers for Disease Control has released recommendations for those planning to attend Thanksgiving gatherings.

The CDC said those who have recently been diagnosed, have symptoms, are awaiting test results, or are at increased risk of severe illness should not attend.