What to know before hitting the road this summer.

By Cailey Rizzo
July 02, 2020
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Researchers from Harvard have developed a map tracking COVID-19 updates by county throughout the United States.

Using a color-coded system, the Harvard Global Health Institute’s COVID Risk Level Map sorts the U.S. based on live reports of coronavirus outbreaks. Users can use the tool for a general picture of how the U.S. is doing or zoom into specific states and counties for up-to-date information on their coronavirus numbers.

Counties are ranked by four colors (green, yellow, orange, and red) based on the spread of COVID-19. Green is for those “on track for containment” with less than one case per 100,000 people. Yellow is for “community spread” and counties with fewer than 10 cases per 100,000 people. Orange denotes an “accelerated spread” with anywhere from 10 to 24 cases per 100,000 people and the highest level of red means the community is at a tipping point and stay-at-home orders are necessary.

The map was also released with guidelines as to how communities can control and respond to their outbreaks with a “unified approach,” developers said.

“The public needs clear and consistent information about COVID risk levels in different jurisdictions for personal decision-making, and policy-makers need clear and consistent visibility that permits differentiating policy across jurisdictions," Danielle Allen, director of the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard University explained in their reasoning for developing the map. “We also collectively need to keep focused on what should be our main target: a path to near zero case incidence.”

According to the map, Arizona and Florida are the only states currently under “red” warning levels — although several other counties throughout the country also fall under that label. The only state to be a “green” state is Hawaii.

Antonio Busiello/Getty

The information on the map could be particularly useful for travelers who decide on a road trip this summer. Travelers can reference the map to determine if perhaps the next county is safer for a refuel or a rest stop. (Just be sure to pack extra supplies like disinfecting wipes in your car before hitting the road.)

For travelers who are trying to leave America this summer, there’s also a global map that displays information about which countries you can and cannot travel to, based on real-time restrictions.