The map of COVID-19 hot spots in the U.S. has changed drastically in recent weeks. As cases in the Northeast (the hardest-hit U.S. region at the start of the pandemic) have declined, cases have exploded in southern states like Florida, Texas, and Arizona. Now, thanks to the Harvard Global Health Institute, there's a simple way to keep track of the geographical impact of the novel coronavirus crisis in real time.
As Fast Company reports, researchers at the organization have developed an interactive map that uses color-coding to mark where COVID-19 risk levels are highest. Every county's status was determined using the same metric: the number of new cases per day per 100,000 residents. If an area is green—the lowest risk level—that means it's recording less than one new COVID case per day and it's on track for containment. Counties marked red are seeing 25 or more new cases per 100,000 people and are at the highest risk level.
The tool is designed for legislators as well as the general public. While the average person may use it to guide their everyday behaviors, policymakers can use it to inform their response to the crisis. Each of the four risk levels comes with a policy recommendation from the researchers. For red counties, stay-at-home orders are strongly urged. Even green counties require viral testing and contact tracing programs to keep the virus under control at this time.
During a pandemic, misinformation is more dangerous—and, unfortunately, more prevalent than ever. Going to a handful of reputable resources for your coronavirus updates is a good way to stay informed without burning out. At the end of May, the World Health Organization released its own COVID-19 app to combat misinformation.
[h/t Fast Company]