Map projects likelihood of meeting someone with COVID-19

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Gov. Ron DeSantis has reiterated it time and again: Don’t meet in groups of more than 10 people. But a new tool says that even in a group of 10, we have a nearly 50-50 chance of meeting someone with COVID-19.

Charles Reid, a retired EMT and Naples resident, said that despite the pandemic, he makes sure to get out and enjoy what Florida has to offer – safely.

“I’m outside a lot on the golf cart, so I’m getting a lot of sunshine and fresh air,” he said.

“I do wear a mask when I go in, as much for courtesy for other people as it is protecting myself.”

One thing he isn’t enjoying a lot of: “I don’t really go out to eat a lot, simply because I don’t want to get in the crowds.”

Avoiding crowds is a good idea, according to the latest data from Georgia Tech.

“In Lee County, you’re running a huge risk, a bigger risk than most of the other counties in the country,” said Clio Andris, an assistant professor and researcher at Georgia Tech.

Andris helped create a map that calculates your chances of coming into contact with the coronavirus based on your county and the size of your gathering.

Andris said that in Lee and Collier counties, “If you’re going to attend an event with 10 people, there is like a 50-50 chance, like a coin flip, that somebody there will be infected with COVID.”

“If that’s your risk to hang out with 10 people, then the question is whether we should have gatherings at all right now,” said Dr. David Rubin, director of PolicyLab at the Children’s Hospital of Philadephia.

Rubin said based on his team’s latest projections, if we don’t change our behaviors, Lee County could see more than 1,100 cases a day by Aug. 3.

“Masking alone is extremely important. We’ve seen it reduce transmission rates, but it’s not enough alone without sufficient distancing,” he said.

If we mask up and put more sheltering mandates in place, that daily number could drop to 155.

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