COVID-19 came with its disruptions and successfully created panic in the population. Oh, the lives it took! With its advent, scientists went along looking for vaccinations as well as trackers. The ordinary public, however, questioned everything that they would do. Going out for a walk or a party or even for getting groceries, everyone wanted to be doubly sure about the impact of the infection.
As people started getting vaccinated, it wasn't still a definite ending for Covid-19 but only focused on reducing the severity of the attack. In such times, doctors and scientists collaborated to develop trackers and tools that could assess the infection risk factor. It will consider certain aspects like your surroundings, what activities you plan to do, place, persisting symptoms, etc.
The recent online tool microCOVID Project calculates the risk of your planned outdoor events. The risk tracker enabled gives a purview of the total number of activities of the person in a period and the overall risk value, which they can share with others. Let's understand wherefrom the creators got the inspiration to design one of the most-needed products of recent times. Also, we will take a peek into the other tools available to estimate the risk of getting Covid 19.
About The Project
One of the project's contributors, Ben Shaya, details how he and his friends invested in the idea. We know how in 2020, all we could think of was the safety protocols that only evolved with the rise in cases due to the pandemic. Ben's friends also started thinking strategically about the cases, the precautions and researched country-wise data of Covid cases. In May 2020, as luck would have it, they were ready with a model to test themselves. Over a few months, this group asked the public to volunteer with the research process. It got support from mathematicians to many frontline health workers.
Ben's group materialized on the idea of measuring the units of risk by microCOVIDS (which means there is one chance of getting the infection in one million cases). There is a budget per person as per the website. It implies one person can have about 10,000 microCOVIDS per year, accounting for a one per cent chance of getting COVID.
How Does It Work?
Users have to manually choose the details of their activities, the masks they wore, the number of people they interacted with, the place, and vaccination status. Let's understand with the help of an example.
The site limits the budget to 10,000 microCOVIDs per person. As such, if you went for an hour of offline tuition where you interacted with 2-3 people and wore an N95 mask, you caught the risk of around four microCovids. It is a low-risk case. Someone with a higher risk, mostly unmasked or in a crowd, will surpass the weekly budget of 200 microCOVIDs per week. It is how the basic model works to estimate the risk of getting Covid-19.
A Stitch In Time
Welcome to GenZ, where digital innovations are the daily trend. The tool designed is highly adaptive as it helps the user calculate the risk beforehand through the custom plan. The website's interface is user-friendly and can protect people from putting them at high risk. Let's say you have to attend a marriage function in a month. You do not know of the vaccination status and health status of everyone attending. So, considering all the features, including your vaccination status, the website will give you value. If you get a score, say, 2000 microCovids, you have a dangerously high risk. If you are fully vaccinated and masked throughout the event except during the feast, the number could fall to 500, a very high-risk status.
So, the intention is to give an outlet to people and help them decide what is more important. They can skip something lesser relevant and attend an important event by analyzing a microCovid score. The team updates the latest information and country-wise cases to get an accurate assumption. It is a great leap to ensure the smooth running of jobs and business after Covid.
Could It Trigger Negligence?
According to few experts, including one of the epidemiologists of Yale University, F. Perry Wilson, the site may encourage people to continue doing activities outdoors that are not crucial. 2020 has already successfully ruined plans of picnics and travels. With the normalcy being operational, the online tools can trigger people to be negligent about the impact of the infection. They may risk doing activities that seem less dangerous on the website but could lead to severity depending on the virus variant.
There isn't a guarantee that the calculator could estimate the risk of getting Covid-19 almost cent per cent, nor can it trace the mutated variants impacts. However, tracking down what's ok to do and what's not is consoling. In fact, it is one of the benefits of technology development. The website gives hope to people about life pre-pandemic and can empower them through assisting them in making decisions about their health.
Though the app provides much-needed relief to help people assess Covid related health risks, it isn't easy to update the version frequently. Covid data is susceptible to rapid change, and pacing up things takes a good deal of effort. Also, users can get a focused assumption if they check the calculator often.
Currently, the app multiplies the data of infected cases by 6. Factoring this could be an overestimation looking at the scene post-vaccination and people taking more precautions. Also, we cannot read the impact of Covid on animals because of the inclusive structure designed.
Interesting Approach To Covid
Although there are underlying issues with the app, it is an innovative economic app to invent. It assures people of the return of normalcy, focuses on preventive measures, and encourages enhanced decision-making of users. It brings their attention to the fact that change of activity indoors/outdoors could have a considerable contribution to your risk of getting Covid. Here is a look at some similar tools that communicate the chance of getting Covid to the people.
- MyCOVIDRisk: Based on situation and activities, estimates the risk of getting Covid.
- 19 and Me: Takes into account health information, demography, and user behavior to give a peek into the risk of getting Covid.
- Covid-19 Mortality Risk Calculator: Gives information about the risk of death from Covid based on their health status and location.
- Covid-19 Event Risk Assessment Planning Tool: Talks about the probability of a person interacting with a Covid positive person based on the group size and location.
Bringing the internet for everyone gave many automated tools at our disposal. The tools thereby restore some level of power in public to help restart lives normally, but no one should rely entirely on these apps. So, while you pursue experimenting with the tools, remember,
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure! There is more practicality necessary to understand the evolving variants and their complications.
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