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Want to have friends over? This new tool calculates your risk of COVID-19 infection

From 10 to 10,000 person events, this risk assessment tool tells you the likelihood someone there will have COVID-19.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Are you thinking about having friends over for a socially distanced BBQ? Maybe you are trying to plan a wedding or wondering what to do about that work event that was scheduled before the COVID-19 outbreak?

A new COVID-19 calculator created by Georgia Tech estimates your risk of exposure. One of the researchers says in Shelby County, even getting together with a group of 10 people is a risky situation.

Georgia Tech researcher Clio Andris said the COVID Event Risk Assessment Planning tool can give you insight as to how risky it may be to go to an event.

For example, in Shelby County, if you attend an event with 10 people, according to the map, there is a 39% chance someone there has COVID-19. 25 people? The risk level goes up to 71%. And there is a 91% chance you will run into someone with COVID-19 if you are with a group 50 people. 

Statistics from county health departments across the country are inputting into the Georgia Tech map and updated daily. 

"The fact that it is at the county level is better than state level counts, because we have a lot of cities like Memphis that straddle multiple states. So that granularity can be effective for decision making," said Andris.

The map lets you change the size of the event from 10 to 10,000 people. 

In Shelby County, it shows for an event of 100 people, there is more than a 99% chance someone attending will have COVID-19.

"It's saying you really shouldn't be part of an even that has 100 people. We shouldn't be planning an event with 100 people. The risk is just too high someone will come to that event and will be infected," said Andris.

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If you scale it up to 500? 

"In the entire south, an event of 500 people would be a contagion," said Andris. "There is way more than 500 people usually at football games. And we know there have been political rallies too that have resulted in more cases because of the people meeting in the rallies."

By the time you get to groups of 1,000 and 5,000 people, there is essentially no place in the United States where an event could be held without someone with COVID-19 being there.

As for other places in the Mid-South, the map shows in DeSoto County, Mississippi, there is a 33% risk of someone having COVID-19 in a of a group of 10. Crittenden County, Arkansas is 24% with 10 people. For a group of 25 in Desoto County, it climbs to 63%, and 49% in Crittenden. If you scale up the size of the group to 50, in Desoto County the risk goes up to 86% and 74% in Crittenden County.

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