KANSAS CITY, Mo. — As COVID-19 cases continue to rise, some people are deciding if they want to gather in large groups for the holidays.
FOX4 talked to people at the plaza about their holiday travels during the pandemic.
“We’re going to be safe and play it cautious and just use common sense,” Kathy Regan, Traveler, said.
“So, we’re going to meet,” Maddie Funk, Traveler, said. “We’re going to keep it safe and who doesn’t want to come that’s fine. There’s nothing super strict with it.”
A new tool, created by researchers at Georgia Tech, could help people plan their holiday travel.
The map tells people what their chances of being exposed to the coronavirus are based on the number of people around.
“It’s all going down to this county level, so we’re trying to get this really regionalized risk scores,” Dr. Stephen Beckett, Research Scientist, said.
Let’s take Elle Skinner for example.
Skinner said she is planning to travel to Iowa for thanksgiving
She said it will be about 15 people in her group.
The map shows her current risk level at 53% in Polk County, Iowa.
“We’re going to get together and we’re going to hang out and it’ll probably be a big crowd,” Jeney Ast, Traveler, said.
Ast will be in Napa, California for Thanksgiving and attending a wedding.
“I mean it’s a pandemic,” said Ast. “Everyone has their own opinion about it; however, I’m still going to live my life until I can’t anymore.”
If that wedding has 100 people, there Ast’s at risk level is 88%.
Dr. Larry Botts with Advent Health in Shawnee Mission said social distancing and mask wearing become more difficult in large groups.
“You are gathering with a larger group particularly as the weather gets colder and moving in doors,” Dr. Botts said. “Those are the situations that are most likely to cause spread of the virus rather quickly.”
People like Josh Jewel said they are paying attention to the numbers and having a Thanksgiving like no other.
We may be getting together with my parents,” Josh Jewel, Kansas City Resident, said. “It’ll just be the four of us because of COVID. People need to start taking this seriously. The rates are going up every day.”
Dr. Beckett said the map updates every four hours.
Here is a link to access the map. https://covid19risk.biosci.gatech.edu/