PHOENIX (3 On Your Side) - As COVID-19 numbers continue to climb, there is a new app to help you figure out how many risks you’re really taking with the virus.
The app, MyCOVIDRisk, was created by doctors who say they want to help people get good information about the activities they’re doing.
Dr. Megan Ranney, the director of the Brown-Lifespan Center for Digital Health and emergency physician at Brown University, is one of the creators of the app.
"The whole idea behind the app is to empower people to do things more safely," Dr. Ranney said. "I think one of the worst things about COVID is that it’s taken away all of our sense of control. I hope that people would only engage in those very lowest risk activities."
Here's how it works: You punch in your zip code, then choose from a list of activities, either inside or outside. The app will also take into account how long you’ll be there, how many people will be there with you, and how many will be wearing masks. Then the app will tell you how risky the activity will be, on a scale from very low risk to very high risk.
"Remember, a moderate risk activity might be moderate for that one time, but the more times you do it the more the risk is going to add up," Dr. Ranney said.
There are limitations to the app. Going to work, going to school, and getting on a plane are among the common activities not included in the list of choices on the app.
"We didn’t feel comfortable modeling how risky those activities were. There are so many unknowns about that," Dr. Ranney said. "And this doesn’t tell you whether it’s safe to get together with loved ones for things like Thanksgiving or winter holidays. That’s a much more complex decision that likely involves decisions around testing and quarantine, and app can’t take the place of a good discussion with your family about their tolerance of risk."
The app is free, and has been used more than three-quarters of a million times. Currently, it is only available at MyCOVIDRisk.app, but it will be available to download in the App store and the Android Google Play store within a week, according to Ranney.