The delta variant of the coronavirus has increased people's chances of testing positive, especially those who are unvaccinated, though there have been a small number of breakthrough cases of COVID-19 in fully vaccinated individuals, particularly among those older than 65.
"While it's good to know how the math works, it can be a bit drudgerous to actually sit down and do it for every activity you're considering. With that in mind, we developed a calculator tool to help you estimate and multiply the Person Risk and Activity Risk, including any modifiers for safer behavior (like wearing a mask), to get an estimated number of microCOVIDs from a given activity," a white paper for the microCOVID calculator reads.
The calculator and its website were developed by a group of researchers who entitled their work "The microCOVID Project."
The tool first asks users in what state or country are they located and then goes on to ask a series of questions to build a specific circumstance to determine the person's risk of catching COVID-19.
For example, it prompts users to enter a scenario ranging from a car ride with one person for 15 minutes to a crowded grocery store trip to an indoor party with 25 unmasked people.
The user is then presented with the following questions: How many people are usually within 15 feet of you at any given time? How close are these nearby people on average? How long is the activity? What is the other person's risk profile? Is the setting outdoor or indoor? Is the space ventilated, or is the air filtered?
Based on the user's responses to those questions and state or country-specific COVID-19 data and various studies of the virus, the tool assesses the user's risk of contracting COVID-19.
For example, if a person is attending an outdoor party with five people who have not been in contact with any COVID-19-positive people and all guests are standing six feet apart, that person's risk of contracting the virus will be low. If a person is attending a large party where nobody is wearing a mask and it is unclear whether the guests have been in close contact with people at risk of having the virus, the risk of contracting COVID-19 will be higher.
There are 139,897 new positive COVID-19 cases per day in the United States, according to the latest seven-day average — a 6.6% increase in new cases compared to last week. The latest positive case numbers are similar to those the U.S. recorded in November of 2020, when states reimplemented lockdown measures prior to the holidays.
There are also more than 90,000 people hospitalized with the virus, and 1,262 new COVID-19 deaths are being reported every day over the last seven days — a 10% increase compared to the last calendar week.
More than half of the entire U.S. population have received both vaccine doses, while more than 60% have received at least the first dose.
States with the lowest vaccination rates include West Virginia, Wyoming, Idaho, Alabama and Mississippi.
In June, 99.5% of all COVID-19 deaths were of unvaccinated people. There have been a total of 14,115 U.S. deaths as a result of breakthrough cases, or COVID-19 cases that occurred in vaccinated individuals, and 70% of those vaccinated individuals were older than 65. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has noted that no COVID-19 vaccine is 100% effective against the virus.