UPDATED News That Will Drive You To Drink

Covid Risk Calculator

If you are still thinking about going to or bringing in people for Thanksgiving, find your county on the map and enter the number of people you are planning on interacting with, and the software will give you a risk assessment.

For instance, here in Seattle/King County/WA, if I were to have my usual Thanksgiving party with about 15 guests there is about 26% chance that someone would have Covid.

UPDATE 1: the MIT newsletter thingie approves of this tool:

What’s the actual risk? This helpful dashboard shows estimated odds that a member of your holiday party will bring the covid-19 virus to dinner. If you run the numbers, there’s a 5% chance that someone at a party of 20 in Maine, near where Antonio lives, will have the virus. But a gathering of just 10 people in the hot spot of Sioux Falls, South Dakota brings a 67% chance. Even with drastically reduced holiday travel this year, Americans will be moving and mingling by the millions, and taking the virus with them. It’s easy to see how Thanksgiving could turn into a nationwide superspreading event that just makes things worse.

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15 Responses to UPDATED News That Will Drive You To Drink

  1. MDavis says:

    Cool. Also, good thing we are planning on having our usual party with, let’s see… just us.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. lofgren says:

    Isn’t this an abuse of statistics?

    I’ll continue to offer my plans as an example, as I did a couple of days ago. We are planning to have 10 people together, so according to this map we have “1-25%” chance that somebody will have COVID.

    First of all “1-25%” is pretty useless as a risk estimate. Is it one in a hundred or one in four? That’s a huge difference, the difference between betting on 10 spins of a roulette wheel vs. 10 rolls of a d4.

    But more to the point, you can’t take general data and extrapolate it to specific events. Maybe we would have 1-25% chance of one person having COVID if I were to gather with 9 other, random people. But we’re from three households, which means that if one person has it then probably the person or persons that they share their house with also has it. Three of us are also young minor children, which means that anybody who they have been in contact with has also had contact with one of the parents (which accounts for four of us). Two of us are elderly retirees, who have been extra careful due to their high risk and no need to attend to work or other errands. My wife has contact every day with the public, so that makes her a high risk, but my brother-in-law is a virologist who gets tested with great regularity (because how embarrassing would it be if your virology lab had an outbreak), so he should be at a lower risk.

    Does all of this balance out so that there is a 1-25% chance that one of us has COVID? Probably! But only because 1-25% is only slightly better than a random guess.

    Liked by 1 person

    • tengrain says:


      “Everything is probability until there is an outcome,” so the work is in controlling the variables. I’m glad you are taking so much into consideration.



      Liked by 1 person

    • “10 rolls of a d4”

      All I know about this number is that it is one hella Magic Missile… 8-P

      But, first, you’re not looking at the actual data, just the shading buckets which will ALWAYS be a range, unless you come up with 100 identifiably different colors. It’s not meant to give you more than a generalized idea (and they will ALWAYS be wildly variable at the ends. If you hover over the county, you get the actual calculated number.

      Of COURSE if you have 3 households making up those 15 people, if one member has it the odds are enormously higher that others in the household do as well. But that’s not really what this chart is about; it’s about public gatherings.

      It says “attending an event,” right there in the description.

      This isn’t (in the jargon of statisticians) an appropriate instrument for identifying the risk in closely related groups like family gatherings, just public gatherings.

      Liked by 1 person

      • MDavis says:

        So – three households totaling, say, 15 people would probably be better calculated by calculating three times, once for each household and then – I don’t know, statisticking (I don’t care if that isn’t a word) the results together, a process that I don’t know the word for.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Actually that exactly how you would calculate these sorts of risk factors, the mathematical models for the spread of an infectious disease aren’t that complex, and are well known…

        But you don’t really have to work out the math: Mask up, stay the hell home, and don’t get together in big groups.

        Family, shamily…if you love ’em , have a Zoom Thanksgiving and Christmas. It is LITERALLY not something worth dying over….or killing Grandma over…there’s always next year.

        Liked by 1 person

    • ming says:

      Well I’m planning to spend the holiday with my 84 year old mother. She lives by herself and has Parklinson’s disease, She’s also a cancer survivor and had polio as a child that left her with a partially paralyzed throat which is a serious choking hazard. So yes, a high risk individual. It is beyond frustrating to listen as she tells me that she is taking the pandemic seriously, yet she goes out to lunch at restaurants with her friends and neighbors has them over to her house. She’s also a compulsive shopper and there is nothing that will interfere with her getting a fix. This week,her plan is to buy a new car. Apparently, her three year-old car with about 9,000.miles is starting to look “a little disreputable”. Fuck. Really mom? You need to go shopping for a new car at the dealership right as the pandemic is going into warp-drive? I’m really not sure that she should be driving anymore, but it may be less of a risk than her using a taxi or some other transportation service for seniors. Anyway, a new car is not what she needs. However, I don’t have much influence in the matter. She tells me it is all perfectly safe, and “the dealer is a nice person that takes lots of precautions”. Did I say fuck already?

      So I have been isolating in prep for thanksgiving. My mom is unhappy that my wife and her mother are not coming so is trying to invite her neighbors. I hope that they have better sense than she does.

      Liked by 1 person

      • tengrain says:

        Ming –

        It’s hard to change a lifetime of behavior on a dime.

        My friend The Mouthy Old Broad lives in Sr. Housing here, and nearly daily she reports that the other denizens of Geezerville (her name for it) are maskless and mingling. She’s been isolating faithfully, but just the trip to the laundry or pick up the mail puts her in direct conflict with the rest.

        I don’t think that there is a lot anyone can do to change other people; all one can do is change oneself.

        Full disclosure: I stopped going to my parents’ Thanksgiving when I left for college and never came back (Thanksgiving was always toxic with my family, so I made it a clean break, and yes, I told them why). So for me this would be a simple continuation of that. Christmas would be more difficult, but because they are now gone, that is also not an issue. I don’t have skin in this game.

        Good luck!



        Liked by 3 people

      • I am SOOO glad my mom is taking this seriously. She thinks her restaurant group (they used to go out to a different restaurant every week) are crazy because they’ve started it back up, and she’s not going to the UA football games this year, and is basically just staying home. She’s got me and a couple of other people who check in and bring her stuff when she needs it.

        She’s braved going to the grocery store and costco a couple times…first thing in the morning and fortunately we’ve got a pretty good mask compliance here.

        I can’t WAIT till a vaccine comes around…

        Liked by 2 people

  3. osirisopto says:

    Ok, I’m not a math guy. I do visuals and that map tells me to stay the hell away from the Dakotas.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Here’s a MUCH simpler chart to consider: (from Jessica Hagy, Indexed )


  5. purplehead says:

    How about this map for the scary, shit, stay-the-fuck-away-from-the-CORVotas, the upper midwest….


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