Interactive tool helps people decide how best to protect themselves and others from Covid

Is it risky to sing in a choir? What are the risks of eating in a small restaurant? How much difference does it make to open windows or clean surfaces? New interactive tool helps people make decisions on COVID-19.

Everyone has been keen to know how much difference each possible action we’ve been told about makes, and finally we have been able to gather together enough knowledge from experts from around the world and in a range of fields to answer those questions

Alexandra Freeman

A new interactive graphic developed by UK researchers and published by The BMJ will help people decide what to do in everyday situations to protect themselves, and others, from COVID-19.

Based on estimates provided by 26 international experts, it shows the different pathways that may be taken by the virus that causes COVID-19 when it transfers between two people.

It is designed to help illustrate the risks of catching COVID-19 in different scenarios – and what can be done to reduce those risks – based on the available evidence.

As well as the areas of scientific consensus, it also conveys the uncertainties and the disagreement that exists between experts about how the virus behaves, how it is transmitted, and how we can best reduce the likelihood of transmission through personal and social measures.

The researchers say the tool should support decision-makers and the public to make informed decisions about how to reduce virus transmission in different contexts, such as how to make a workplace or a public area as safe as it can be while still being open and functional.

To create the tool, the researchers, led by the University of Cambridge, consulted 26 experts from a range of disciplines and countries, asking them for every value needed to underpin the graphic.

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