UT COVID-19 modeling consortium predicting infection rates at local schools

Local News

CAMERON COUNTY, Texas (ValleyCentral) — As Rio Grande Valley schools prepare for the new school year, there are some concerning statistics from the University of Texas at Austin.

The COVID-19 Modeling Consortium has been gathering daily infection rates from across Texas and the country. While this online dashboard was first published in July of 2020, it has continued to be updated.

With 206 new cases confirmed on Wednesday, Data Specialist Maureen Johnson- Leon says there is a risk for infections at local schools.

“If community transmission is high, if those numbers of people infected is high, then we do see increased risk of having people showing up with COVID to school,” Johnson-Leon said.

The infection risks are calculated by the number of daily COVID-19 infection, but the university still needs to factor in vaccination rates in children.

“So you might look at it and find your county and say okay my school pod I’m going to look at this county go down and see how many people will show up and might be infected with COVID-19,” Johnson-Leon said. “So when you look at this dashboard it gives you a general sense of the risk however, we have to consider that our under 12 population is not vaccinated so this dashboard might underestimate the risk of the under 12 population becoming infected with COVID.”

As counties across the Rio Grande Valley and Texas see a surge in new cases, researchers hope this information will keep local schools on guard.

“We hope that members of the community, school boards parents, anybody who is concerned about it can look at it and use that to inform the decisions that they make and to empower their decisions  in the community to reduce COVID transmission and to protect those around us.”

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