Smithsonian Magazine reports the calculator was created by a group of friends who made a mathematical model based on the most recent research including on masks, vaccine efficacy and current COVID-19 cases in each county.
It’s called the microCOVID project.
Users submit their county, state or country, then facts about the activity they’re considering like grocery shopping or going to dinner. It also asks questions like if the user will be masked or indoors.
According to their model, one microCOVID equals a one in one million chance of contracting COVID-19. So if the calculator results of a certain scenario equal 30 microCOVIDs, that means there is a 30 in one million chance of getting COVID.
The website, microCOVID.org, states if a person keeps their weekly “risk budget” of microCOVIDs to under 200 per week, their total risk in one year adds up to under a one percent chance of getting COVID.
“We want to help as many people as possible feel more empowered to make decisions around COVID risk by helping them understand how COVID is transmitted. We hope this tool will help hone your intuition, lower your stress levels, and figure out good harm-reduction strategies,” the group says on the website.
A disclaimer is provided on the website which says, in part, ” … we are not ourselves experts in this topic. This work has not been scientifically peer-reviewed.” They ask that people using the calculator do not rely on it for medical advice.