This App Could Help You Plan Pandemic-Safe Activities For You Family

We all know how tricky weighing each activity's coronavirus risk can be—but this tool might make understanding the safety of your plans a bit easier.

We wish the reality were different, but here we are: As many experts predicted, COVID rates are on the rise—which poses a double whammy for many families who live in colder climates. We'd already been dreading the end of warm days, as we'll likely have to say goodbye to safer outdoor activities. And with the uptick in cases, we need to be especially cautious about indoor gatherings.

mother and daughter wearing face mask using cell phone
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There are a lot of mental gymnastics involved with weighing the safety of every single plan you come up in light of this pandemic (and truly, if there's one thing no parent needs more of, it's mental gymnastics). That's why we're excited about this app, which helps users better understand the risks associated with specific activities.

The MyCOVIDRisk App which comes from Brown University's medical school, allows users to input the activities they're planning, along with information that can change the level of risk associated with it. In order to use this tool, you first complete a self-check, which essentially ensures you don't have COVID symptoms yourself. Then you add your location and some details about the activity in question like whether it'll take place indoors or outdoors, how many people will be there, the duration of time you'll spend, and how many of those people will be wearing masks. The app provides an assessment of your risk and suggests changes you can make to be even safer.

There are, of course, limitations to this tool. It doesn't replace personalized medical advice, and it only gives a snapshot of your family's risk of infection (meaning it can't factor in a specific person's risk of hospitalization or death). With that being said, this might be a really great way to weigh your risk based on COVID's presence in your area with advice more tailored to your exact scenario.

Another thing we need to keep in mind? Even when this app rates your activity as "very low risk", that doesn't mean there's no chance you'll get COVI-19. Regardless of what you're doing, precautions like mask-wearing and social distancing shouldn't be forgotten.

We're living through a time where pretty much everything—even something as mundane as a trip to the grocery store—feels fraught with risk. This pandemic is so full of unknowns, and even the experts are grasping to learn more. But tool like this might represent the reality of the next few months. While we can't completely stop living our lives as normal, we are obligated to take as many appropriate steps as we can to keep ourselves, our families and our communities safe. This app helps us figure out how to do just that, and even offers suggestions for lowering the risk of many activities.

There's no question about it: Masking up, social distancing, and doing as much as we possibly can to slow the spread is imperative right now—and if you're tired of mentally calculating the safety of each and everything you do, this tool might make things a bit easier.

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