HONOURABLE MENTION

Developing an App Based on Risk Analysis to End Coronavirus

I developed a method based on published risk analysis to predict the risk of contracting coronavirus for a person. A proposed phone app will apply the method and uses the phone IP address and GPS to collect the App data about places and activities.
Mariam Harran
Grade 8

Problem

Research Hypothesis

       If we could re-design our daily activities based on ways to reduce the spread of COVID-19, then we can go back to our important activities in our daily normal life with less risk of contracting coronavirus. 

Method

        I will apply the statistical method to predict the probability of contracting coronavirus during our normal daily activities, and the probability of contracting the virus during redesigned daily activities for the purpose of reducing the infection. I will collect data on the risk of several places are of coronavirus being contracted from them. I will make different scenarios of a typical day for a person, and then find out the probability of contracting corona for each scenario. Based on my results, I will come up with some solutions to reduce the risk of contracting coronavirus on a typical day.

PA, PB, and  PC respectively 

Transmission of the virus may be limited by applying social distancing, mask, hygiene, and the probability of limiting the spread can be estimated as follows:

PA= PA x Psx Pm x Ph 

Ps=  Risk of getting the virus when social distancing is applied

PA= The probability of transmission of coronavirus

Pm= Risk of getting the virus when masking is applied

Ph= Risk of getting the virus when hygiene is applied

The risk of contracting coronavirus does not only depend on which places that people go to or activities that they are doing, but also it depends on the people with whom they come in contact. For example, if people stay at home 24/7, but other people come to their houses, then they will still have a risk of contracting the virus. The risk probability depends on HOW people contact each other. Let us assume that the risk of contracting coronavirus from people is Pp1 and Pp2, then the total risk can be calculated from the following:

P=Pa+Pp+Pb+Pp1+Pp2

 

Research

 Research Background:      

          Since started in Wuhan, China in late 2019, coronavirus is spreading all over the world and affects all aspects of our lives, and even took many lives. Although we were able to know many things about the pandemic since it started, we are still suffering from the consequences of the virus. In this research project, I will present a probabilistic approach to predict the transmission of the virus to people at various activities and places using the available data collected over the world. I will also present how the virus affected us, the information about the virus spreading and the available statistics about that information. Coronavirus affects our lives from four aspects: Social, economical, health, and education:

1.Economical: 

          The restrictions taken by the governments to stop or reduce the spreading of the virus have impacted the economy in many ways. For example, Statistics Canada shows in Figure 1 that the unemployment rate has doubled since the starting of the Covid-19 epidemic.

              

                  Figure 1.1: Affect of Covid-19 on the Unemployment rate in Canada

        The loss of jobs has an effect on individuals, families, and the country. It has reduced the paying capabilities of people and sending these people to social assistance and care. Also, the unemployment rate would increase because people do not feel safe to go to work, and also because of the government restrictions on some places. 

2 Social: 

       This virus affects our ability to communicate properly with others because of the restrictions that are in place regarding meeting one another. We are not allowed to go in public spaces anymore with large groups of friends. This can be detrimental to our communication skills, because, over time, we will start becoming less and less familiar on how to communicate with others.    

Parks and outdoor spaces: How did the number of visitors change since the beginning of the pandemic?

 ‌        Figure 1.2: Change in the Number of Visitors to Parks and Outdoor Spaces

       Figure 1.2 shows the changes in the number of people going to parks and outdoor spaces throughout the pandemic. This graph implies that people started becoming more aware of the importance of the set guidelines over time, and they started practicing them.

3.Health:

         This virus doesn't only have short-term effects on people, it can also cause long-term effects. These long-term effects include permanent lung, heart, and brain damage that may occur as a result of contracting coronavirus. According to a study in Denmark's Aarhus University, about 1/3 of COVID-19 patients are exposed to long-term effects.   

           Prevalence of underlying conditions associated with high mortality in                                            COVID-19 infection (n=3 862 012)

  Figure 1.3: The Prevalence of Underlying Conditions Associated with High Mortality Rates in COVID-19 Infections​​​​​​

       This figure proves that people with existing conditions and are aged 70 and over are the most affected by corona.

4.Education:

Effects on Education also play a big role in the aspects that are affected by COVID-19, especially for us as youth. In a lot of places around the world, governments are closing schools. The problem is: a lot of children don't have internet access or electronic devices. “According to the National Center of Education Statistics (NCES), 14% of students, aged 3-18, do not have access to the Internet at home, roughly equating to 9 million students.”

                 Figure 1.4: The Effect of COVID-19 on Worldwide Education        

       This figure shows how many students' educations were impacted by coronavirus through February and March of 2020. We can see here that there is a definite impact on students' overall education, and that the impact is increasing every day. 

            Virus Transmission Ways:

1.Touch: 

        We can transmit the virus by touching an infected surface. We can do this by an infected person touching a surface, and then we touch it after him and then touch our mouth, nose, or eyes. The virus can live on surfaces for a matter of hours, but it can also stay on metals and plastics for about three days.“ In one series of experiments, 86 percent of workers were contaminated when spray or powder tracers were put on commonly touched objects in an office.”-states NYTimes.

2.Inhale

        Virus particles can be transmitted through the air, therefore, making inhalation of the virus a way to transmit the virus. A CDC report about the event that was released on May 12 found that from the 61 people who attended the 2.5-hour practice (one of whom had coronavirus symptoms), 32 developed confirmed COVID-19 cases, and 20 others developed probable ones. The transmission was likely happened by close proximity (within 6 feet) during practice and augmented by the act of singing and that singing may have contributed to the transmission through the emission of aerosols, which is affected by the loudness of vocalization.

             Health Practices of Reducing Transmission

1. Mask:

         Masking is one of the most important health practices to reduce the risk of COVID-19. An experiment using high-speed video found that hundreds of droplets ranging from 20 to 500 micrometers were generated when saying a simple phrase, but that nearly all these droplets were banned from coming inside the body when the mouth was covered by a damp washcloth. 

             Figure 3.1: The Effectiveness of Wearing Masks    

       This graph shows the decrease in coronavirus case numbers depending on the countries' policies on May 9, 2020. We can see here that there is a definite decrease in the coronavirus numbers for the countries that had the policy: masks by 15 days.

2.Hygiene:

          Washing your hands before and after using the washroom, before and after eating, before and after touching someone’s supplies is so important they should become a habit in people's lives. A 2006 study found that hand washing may cut the risk of respiratory infections by 16 percent and a 2008 study showed a 21 percent reduction.

3. Social Distancing:

      Since the virus spreads through the air, social distancing should always be implemented. Social distancing for AT LEAST 1 meter (3 feet) is mandatory. It is better to social distance for 2 meters (6 feet). Kalluri and his colleagues estimate that national social distancing policies in 46 countries prevented more than 1.5 million cases of COVID-19 in a two-week period. That’s a 65% reduction in new Covid-19 cases. 

             Figure 3.3: The Effectiveness of Just One Day of Social Distancing

    As seen in this figure, social distancing, even for one day, can make a huge reduction difference in coronavirus cases.

                  Statistics of virus transmission 

1.Severe transmission rate:

2. Moderate transmission rate

3. Low transmission rate:

                    Reduction of COVID-19 through Health Safety Measures

1. Masks:

        A range of research made showed that wearing a mask could reduce the risk of getting infected by the virus by 65%.

2. Social Distancing:

        A study found that those who were using public transport often were more than four times likely to report a history of testing positive for COVID-19, while those who reported strict outdoor social distancing were a tenth as likely to report ever being COVID-19 positive.

3. Hand Washing:

      Hand washing may reduce the risk of respiratory diseases.                    

Data

Collecting the Data

App Inputs

           The app inputs are the data that is needed to calculate the risk of catching coronavirus while doing different activities at different places for any individual. These inputs are required to calculate the risk of contracting the virus for a person and include:

  1. Risk of contracting the virus at places during activities. To identify the risk value, collecting information of the visited places, and their activities like restaurants, schools, work, are required. Table 1 lists the risk at the common places and activities.
  2. Risk reduction factor due to the application of the health measures; mask, social distance, and hygiene. This can be known from responding to app notifications and reminders. Table 2 lists from research the reduction factors.
  3. Risk of contracting virus for people that come in contact with that person in concern.
  4. How long the person comes into close contact with others. The time limit can be used for considering risk from another person. Say, people who meet for less than 5 minutes may not be considered in calculating the risk        

How to Collect Data for the Coronavirus App

            Nowadays, phones are so common around the globe. People even under the age of 10 have mobile phones. Mobile phones are defined on the Internet with their IP addresses. In addition, almost all mobile phones use GPS systems and maps, like google maps to define locations of places and their activities. These technologies can be used to collect data required for the Coronavirus App by designing proper programming codes. The following data inputs and their representations are:

1. Each person is to be identified with the IP of their phone

2.  The data collected by the GPS of the phone (includes places and their activities) are used to define the risk of contracting coronavirus.

3. The App is to calculate the risk of contracting the virus and link it to the IP of the phone carrying that App.

4. The risk calculated for each person should be connected with their IP and used to calculate the main person's risk based on the time spent with the other people

            This, of course, may lead to potential harm. How so? If a person tracks down the app on someone's phone, they might be able to find out all of the person's information. To reduce the risk of this happening, putting in confidential information in the app that is not required, such as one's phone number or name, is strongly inadvisable.

 

Table 1: Risk Values of contracting Corona from activities and places

Event Risk Severity Risk
Attending a religious service with 500+ worshippers High 90%
Going to a sports stadium High 90%
Attending a large music concert High 90%
Going to a movie theatre High

80%

Going to an amusement park High 80%
Working out a gym High 80%
Eating at a buffet High 80%
Hugging or shaking hands when greeting a friend Moderate-High

70%

 

Playing football Moderate-High

70%

Playing basketball Moderate-High

70%

Traveling by plane Moderate-High 70%
Attending a wedding or a funeral Moderate-High 70%
Eating in a restaurant (inside) Moderate-High 70%
Going to a hair salon or a barbershop Moderate-High 70%
Visiting an elderly relative or a friend at their home Moderate 60%
Swimming in a public pool Moderate 60%
Working a week in an office building Moderate 60%
Sending kids to school, camp, or daycare Moderate 60%
Shopping at a mall Moderate 50%
Going to a beach Moderate 50%
Attending a backyard barbecue Moderate  50%
Having dinner at someone else's house Moderate  50%
Spending an hour in a playground Low-moderate 40%
Walking in a busy downtown Low-moderate 40%
Eating in a restaurant (outside) Low-moderate 40%
Going to a library or museum Low-moderate 40%
Sitting in a doctor's waiting room Low-Moderate 40%
Staying at a hotel for two nights Low-moderate 40%
Playing golf Low-moderate 30%
Going for a walk, run, or bike ride with others Low-moderate 30%
Grocery shopping Low-moderate 30%
Going camping Low 20%
Playing tennis Low 20%
Getting restaurant takeout Low 20%
Pumping gasoline Low 20%
Opening the mail Low 10%

 

Table 2: Risk Reduction of Contracting Coronavirus by Applying Health Precautions 

Practice to reduce Transmission Probability of Reducing the Infection References
Social Distancing 0.10, 0.15* https://www.ctvnews.ca/health/coronavirus/handwashing-distancing-and-mask-wearing-all-drastically-cut-risk-of-catching-covid-19-research-1.5122279https://www.vox.com/2020/3/15/21180342/coronavirus-covid-19-us-social-distancing
Mask

0.35*,

0.23*

https://www.ctvnews.ca/health/coronavirus/handwashing-distancing-and-mask-wearing-all-drastically-cut-risk-of-catching-covid-19-research-1.5122279https://www.ucdavis.edu/coronavirus/news/your-mask-cuts-own-risk-65-percent/
Hand Washing 0.34* https://www.ctvnews.ca/health/coronavirus/handwashing-distancing-and-mask-wearing-all-drastically-cut-risk-of-catching-covid-19-research-1.5122279

* The reduction in infection (x) was listed in the reference source from which the probability of infection (1-x) was calculated. 

 

Table 3: Calculated Probability of Contracting Coronavirus from Assumed Scenarios  

# Scenario Application of health practices Risk
Social distancing Masking Hand washing
1 Restaurant (inside) - - - 70%
1-a Restaurant (inside) - X -   25%
1-b Restaurant (inside) - - X
 24%
1-c Restaurant (inside) X - -  11%
1-d Restaurant (inside) X X X
 1%
2

      Day of a working dad:

Work for a week in an office building

X X X   1%
2-a

    Day of a working dad:

Work for a week in an office building

- - - 60%
3

         Day of a student: 

Go to school, Playing basketball

- - - 130%
3-a

          Day of a student:

Go to school, Playing basketball

X X X

   3%

 

4

    Day of a stay-at-home mom:

Sending kids to school, pumping gasoline

- -

80%

 

4-a

     Day of a stay-at-home mom:

Sending kids to school, pumping gasoline

X X X  2%
5

Career:

Working in a store

- - - 80%
5-a

Career: 

Working in a store

X X X  2%

I assumed that working in a shop would result in a high risk for the employees because they are in closed spaces and in close contact with other people for a long span of time.

 

 

Conclusion

             I conclude that in order to continue our important activities in our daily normal life, we should apply the precautions set by Alberta Health. I can also conclude from the graph that social distancing is the most effective health practice. The results that came out when I was making the scenarios amazed me. They showed me that, just by masking, handwashing, and social-distancing, the risk can go all the way down to below 5%. We can even do several events in one day, but we must social distance for two meters, wear an effective mask (more than one layer and well-fitted), and hand wash every 2-3 hours. If we all help each other and start following the guidelines, coronavirus can be ended in a matter of months. From my search over the world's coronavirus policies, the countries that set strict coronavirus precautions normally have the least amount of cases and can control the virus easily.

   RECOMMENDATIONS

  I recommend that the government should be strict in the application of the precautions which reduce the risk of coronavirus. I also recommend helping businesses to go back to normal, but at the same time find ways to apply the precautions strictly and to make a strict law to apply them. Moreover, I recommend people to start watching their activities and to apply the restrictions put in place by AHS. In this matter, I would like to invite companies that are working with health data about spreading the virus to apply my approach and develop a way to teach people about the risk of coronavirus and that we can reduce this risk by the application of the precautions in place. At the same time, we should encourage people to go out to their work, but with the application of precautions.

     To help people to be aware of the risk and of the precautions' effectiveness, I recommend developing an app to use this approach and help other people to reduce the virus. The recommended app can be connected to the GPS to detect the places and their activities' risk and notify people about information about the place they are going to. The features of this app can include:

  • Reminders that tell you the risk of contracting coronavirus from the place you are going to.
  • Reminders to hand wash every two hours or so.
  • Reminders every hour or two, and when we enter a place to mask and social distance.
  • It can give you alternative places to the one you want to go to that don't have as a high risk.
  • It gives you the latest updates on coronavirus from the most reliable sources worldwide.
  • It can show virus cases that showed up in the places within the last 48 hours, especially for people with critical health issues and people aged 70 and up because they can't resist the virus properly.

        A helpful step towards reminding others of these three very important guidelines and the risk of places is to make this recommended app for coronavirus notifications. If you have a source that reminds you of the place's risk that you are going to, then you won't be going to those places. I think all people ought to have a better source of information on the go to get rid of this virus. The more details, the better!

 

 

 

Citations

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Acknowledgement

 I would like to acknowledge my mom for helping me film this project.