RALEIGH, NC (WNCN) – New cases of COVID-19 are increasing across the country – as are your chances of being exposed to the virus.
Understanding this risk is especially important now with people traveling statewide and into the United States on Thanksgiving.
That’s why a risk map created last year by researchers at Georgia Tech, Duke and Stanford remains relevant even today.
SEE THE MAP HERE
The map shows that no matter where you go for the holidays, you are at least at some risk of being exposed to COVID.
“And so we should definitely keep an eye on that and consider ways to make our gatherings a bit safer,” said Allie Sinclair, a researcher at Duke who is part of the team that collects the risk of COVID-19 event. evaluation planning tool.
The online map breaks down the odds that you could be exposed to COVID for each county in the United States into groups of varying sizes – from 10 to 5,000, with examples to put those numbers into context. A fitness class might have 15 people, for example, while a college basketball game has 5,000 or more.
“What we’re trying to do here is give people these event benchmarks of different sizes that correspond to actual things they might be doing,” Sinclair said.
The risk map for a group of 50 people in North Carolina shows a slightly darker shade – indicating more risk – in the western mountains and central North Carolina, including Wake County, where it has a 36% chance of exposure to COVID.
But the real variance comes when you adjust the size of the groups.
A 10-person meeting in Wake County has only an 8% exposure risk. But make 100 in Currituck County and it bumps up to 78%.
“If they can think about how these event sizes relate to things in their own lives,” Sinclair said, “then they can look at the level of risk as a probability and assess whether they want or not to engage in such an important event. ” The main reason for these differences is also the most obvious: vaccination rates. But it is not the only one. Sinclair says the weather is a factor as well, with cooler places leading more people indoors, where COVID tends to spread more easily.
“You will see that there is a pretty good match. … Places that have fewer people vaccinated tend to have more cases, ”Sinclair said. “But at the same time, that doesn’t count for everything.”
Experts, including Dr Anthony Fauci, have said holiday gatherings should be safe as long as you and those at those gatherings are vaccinated – but it’s wise to be aware that the risk exists.
“If the risk of exposure is high, then you should take more precautions,” Sinclair said.
The value of these maps has to do with odds and the big picture, rather than focusing on individual people, said Dr. David Weber, an infectious disease specialist at the University of Carolina School of Medicine. North.
“You know, I think they provide general information, but I’m not thinking of an individual case, they are particularly useful,” he said. “Everything is probabilistic.
CBS 17 Joedy mccreary has been tracking COVID-19 numbers since March 2020, compiling data from federal, state and local sources to provide a clear overview of the current coronavirus situation and what it could look like in the future.