Tampa Bay’s coronavirus risk assessment data shows smaller holiday gatherings are safer

By The Numbers

(AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh, File)

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Coronavirus is still raging on across the country, with new cases erupting in many states, and a new interactive map is showing what the impact of holiday gatherings could be locally.

The map, created by researchers at Georgia Tech, shows the risk of at least one COVID-positive person being at a gathering and how that could impact others at a gathering between 10 and 5,000 people.

As a whole, Florida gatherings with up to 50 people are mostly within the range of a 25-75% risk, with the exceptions of Bay and Jackson counties, both located at the panhandle.

In the Tampa Bay and surrounding areas, Citrus and Highlands counties events with 50 people were at the highest risk of spreading coronavirus— a 53% and 59% risk, respectively.

Residents in the other eight counties making up the Tampa Bay area have a 25-50% risk of catching the coronavirus at events with up to 50 people, but researchers warn that the risk increases as the number of people increases.

In the last seven days, Johns Hopkins reported that the United States has surpassed 11.2 million confirmed cases, and projections from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation paint a grim picture for Florida and the rest of the country if safety measures are ignored for the holiday season.

Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released guidelines for holiday gatherings.

Among others, here are some suggestions for a safe Thanksgiving:

  • Wear a mask with two or more layers to stop the spread of COVID-19 and store it when you’re eating or drinking.
  • Stay at least 6 feet away from others who do not live with you.
  • Keep hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol available and use it when you are unable to wash your hands.
  • Bring your own food, drinks, plates, cups, and utensils.
  • Avoid going in and out of the areas where food is being prepared or handled, such as in the kitchen.
  • Use single-use options, like salad dressing and condiment packets, and disposable items like food containers, plates, and utensils.

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