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Assistant professor develops COVID risk tools, featured in New York Times

  |   Kathryn Kao   |   Permalink   |   Media Mention,   Research,   Students and Faculty

With the long-term effects of coronavirus as unpredictable as the weather, any tool that can help assess the threat of the infection is a welcome solution.

Created by Cameron Byerley, an assistant professor in the Department of Mathematics, Science, and Social Studies Education, COVID-Taser is a new online platform which was recently featured in an article by the New York times.

The digital tool allows people to input their age, vaccine status and health background to predict the risks of the virus. Byerley and her team used estimates of the proportion of infections from earlier in the pandemic to help predict relative risk.

Sponsored by a rapid grant from the National Science Foundation, Byerley’s research shows that people have trouble interpreting percentages. Additionally, her research found that an average 40-year-old person vaccinated over six months ago faced roughly the same chance of being hospitalized after an infection as someone did of dying in a car crash in the course of 170 cross-country road trips.

An unvaccinated 61-year-old person with an organ transplant, Byerley said in the article, is three times as likely to die after an infection as someone is to die within five years of receiving a diagnosis of stage one breast cancer. That transplant recipient is twice as likely to die from COVID as someone is to die while scaling Mount Everest.

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