Po-Shen Loh

How Apps Empower Users to Weigh Their COVID-19 Risk

How Apps Empower Users to Weigh Their COVID-19 Risk

When you venture out for the day, you check your weather app to see if storms are on the way. If there’s a storm system moving through, you bring an umbrella or raincoat, just to play it safe. The forecast helps you plan for the day, anticipating problems that might come your way.

NOVID, developed by Carnegie Mellon University professor of mathematics and Expii founder Po-Shen Loh, applies the same principle to the probability of encountering COVID-19. Users can see, in real-time, the immediate threat of COVID-19 in their circles monitored by degrees, in the style of “six degrees of Kevin Bacon,” Loh joked.

Because NOVID helps pre-detect risk, opening the free app is less about telling someone they already have COVID and more about informing someone of their risk of contracting it so they can make better decisions about how to avoid it. Loh hopes the experience can give back some autonomy to users when it comes to understanding how the disease spreads and the risks associated with their choices.

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