By: John Galante, President, AE Ventures
With the rolling surges of COVID-19 cases across America this spring and summer, two facts have become abundantly clear—1) significant risk of contracting the virus will persist for many more months, and 2) those risks will vary by time and place. At the same time, the event industry is trying to make decisions on when, where and how to resume production of in-person events. That why our company, AE Ventures, teamed with risk industry experts, Intelligent Management Trends and Risk Analysis Services, to develop the COVID Risk Navigator.
At the same time, the event industry is trying to make decisions on when, where and how to resume production of in-person events. That why our company, AE Ventures, teamed with risk industry experts, Intelligent Management Trends and Risk Analysis Services, to develop the COVID Risk Navigator.Tweet
A prototype of the Navigator was developed as we at AE Ventures searched for metrics to evaluate the risk of participating our hosted events, the TecHome Builder Summits, and to analyze cost-benefit ratios on various protective measures. As we socialized this information with event industry leaders like IAEE COO and CEIR CEO, Cathy Breden, CMP, CAE, CEM and our customers in the technology and housing industries, we saw broader application for any business planning to undertake activity in a specific location or drawing participation from specific locations.
A fundamental contributor to the Navigator is the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s (MIT) COVID Analytics project, and its predictions team led by Michael Lingzhi Li. COVID Analytics is researching, maintaining and publishing daily COVID projections by geographical location around the world. The data set is broken down by state in the US and province in Canada and Australia as well as by country and continent. Most important for purposes of the Navigator, COVID Analytics is tracking and projecting Active Cases—an estimate of the number people that are infected with the virus on a given day. With Active Case data for specific locations and times, we can build risk models that start with the rate of infection in the population one is likely to encounter, then factor in risk prevention tactics like screening, mask-wearing, social distancing, amount of time spent engaging and airflows to calculate total risk.
The first edition of the Navigator that we launched August 26 features a Geographical Data Array that organizes COVID Analytics active case data, population and infection rates into standard US and international region breakdowns. This offers at-a-glance insights into hot spots and cool spots for the virus and can be easily draw from for risk calculations. In mid-September the Navigator will add a Risk Calculator that combines formulas and data points drawn from COVID Analytics and authoritative sources on risk mitigation to estimate total risk.
We’re excited to be working with John Farrell of Intelligent Management Trends, Alan Cantor Risk Analysis Service and Michael Lingzhi Li and his colleagues at MIT on this free and hopefully very useful tool. We need to figure out the COVID work-arounds where possible and advisable. Identifying where infections are waxing and waning and putting a number on the relative risk should help.
About Active Cases:
The Navigator is powered by Active Case projections provided by MIT’s COVID Analytics, a project originated and staffed by 36 graduate students and faculty members under the direction of Dimitris Bertsimos, Associate Dean of Business Analytics, Boeing Professor of Operations Research and faculty director of the Master of Business analytics at MIT:
- COVID Analytics’ epidemiological model is called DELPHI. It forecasts infections, hospitalizations, and deaths. It is based on a standard SEIR (Susceptible-Exposed-Infectious-Recovered) model with additional features specific to the COVID-19 pandemic, including under-detection and differentiated government intervention. To learn more, review DELPHI’s documentation and source code.
- COVID Analytics defines a COVID-19 case as “active” if it has not yet resulted in recovery or death. Discrepancy between the number of active cases at COVID Analytics and the active cases tracked at the widely followed Johns Hopkins University COVID Resource Center Map result from JHU not fully accounting for recovered case data. This can lead to the overestimation of currently active cases.
- COVID Analytics statistics encompass only countries in which they have sufficient data and where the pandemic is currently active. It excludes some East Asian countries where the pandemic has largely passed.
Assumptions on effects of prevention methods: Our data points on person-to-person infection spread rates with and without face masks and social distancing are drawn from a study published June 1 in The Lancet, “Physical distancing, face masks, and eye protection to prevent person-to-person transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19: a systematic review and meta-analysis,” authored by Derek K Chu, MD, Prof Elie A Akl, MD, Stephanie Duda, MSc, Karla Solo, MSc, Sally Yaacoub, MPH and Prof Holger J Schünemann, MD. Findings include:
- This dense scholarly study is perhaps best summarized in a June 5, Cleveland Clinic article, with the primary takeaways for the Navigator being:
- 17.4% chance of contracting COVID if encountering an infected individual with no mask.
- 3.1% chance of contracting COVID if encountering an infected individual while wearing a mask.
- 2.6% chance of contracting COVID if encountering an infected individual with one meter or more social distancing.
Risk Thresholds & Color Coding: The color-coding system in our Geographical Data Array responds to infection rate probability thresholds based on the assumptions set by the user. It generates three color codes – Red, Yellow and Green – reflected in maps and country/region/state listings. Red would identify a Danger Zone, yellow would identify a Somewhat Safe Zone and green would identify a Very Safe Zone. This begs the question: what numbers do you want to assign to the zones? Users input an expression of odds (1 in X) which is also shown as percentage chance of infection. Risk thresholds differ for individuals and organizations. For AE Ventures, in thinking through acceptable risk rates for production of our events and additional risk mitigation measures we could put in place such as social distancing policies and pre-event testing, we’ve decided under 1 in 1,000 (>0.1%) would be a Red Danger Zone, between 1 in 1,000 and 1 in 2,000 would be a Yellow Somewhat Safe Zone and 1 in 2,000 or more would be a Green Very Safe Zone. Paul R. Hunter and Lorna Fewtrell published a paper exploring different viewpoints on “Acceptable Risk” for the World Health Organization in 2001. The paper was part of a larger study on water quality but offers interesting perspectives on how to view risk and establish your own standards of acceptable risk.
About AE Ventures
AE Ventures provides dynamic B2B engagement at the intersection of technology and construction. Our unique hosted style in-person TecHome Builder Summits and Online Summit drive extraordinary progress for residential builders, developers and property managers. And we complement those event experiences with original research and guides that accelerate technology implementation and improve ROI.
About Intelligent Management Trends
Intelligent Management Trends is an independent research and advisory firm that analyzes the management trends and vendors enabling timely, optimized, risk-informed enterprise decision making.
IMT published research includes complimentary industry Perspectives and premium Reports addressing management best practices, vendor capabilities, and market forecasts. www.IntelligentManagementTrends.com
About Risk Analysis Services
Risk Analysis Services (RAS) helps clients save money and improve operations through deep-dive quantitative risk analysis and advanced statistical trending. This helps give clients a competitive edge in risk and claims cost reductions. Clients have reported 15% or more savings in insurer costs, plus help with regulators and Boards of Directors. RAS’s proprietary RiskMap® tools and technology were created by Alan Cantor. It transforms significant amounts of data into effective analyses, producing a clearer and more informed picture of risks. www.RiskAnalysisServices.com
About Massachusetts Institute of Technology COVID Analytics
COVID Analytics are produced by a group of researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Operations Research Center, led by Professor Dimitris Bertsimas. They aim to quickly develop and deliver tools to combat the spread of COVID-19. This work represents a collaborative effort with multiple hospitals which provide data and support throughout the model creation process. COVID Analytics features a wide variety of information and advice including epidemiological predictions of COVID-19 infections, hospital stays, and mortalities. PLEASE NOTE: MIT does NOT officially endorse the COVID Risk Navigator.