Researchers say border communities more at risk, when gathering

Local News

HARLINGEN, Texas (KVEO) — As schools return to remote learning, the debate continues on when schools should reopen. One recent study shows South Texas border communities are more at risk to COVID, in group gatherings of 25 or more.

Officials with the study say as state lifted lock downs the responsibility shifted to individuals to manage their own personal risk, but most did not have accurate information to make that decision.

Researchers from Georgia Tech, Stanford University, and The Applied Bioinformatics Laboratory, developed an Interactive COVID-19 Event Risk Assessment Planning Tool.

The Tool uses real time data, from the previous two weeks of county infection rates, to predict the risk assessment level, that at least one person at the event will be COVID-19 positive.

The study shows communities along the border from Brownsville to Laredo are exceptionally high risk for infection when residents get together in groups of just 25.

Researchers with the project say their data shows only how likely someone at the event is infected not the risk of being exposed.

“Now if you go to the event, you’re not going to necessarily interact with every person at the event. Even if you walked by the person who had COVID, you’re not necessarily going to get infected,” says Mallory Harris, Ph.D. Student with the Department of Biology, Stanford University.

In groups of 25, Cameron County tops the list at 99% with Starr at 97%. When in groups of 100, Hidalgo, Cameron, Willacy, and Starr Counties all top the list at 99%.

To determine the risk, the dashboard utilizes data of the percentage of those who tested positive for antibodies of COVID-19, to adjust for those who were never detected. The data is compiled from the past two weeks of reported cases.

If you would like to take a full look at the survey itself you can click here.

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