A graphic showing that an individual test taker has a moderate risk of getting severe COVID-19 (Credit: BellAge)

The New York State Office for the Aging is using the power of the online quiz to try to help people reduce their risk of dying from COVID-19.

The agency has joined with the Association of Aging in New York and BellAge, a New York-based aging tech firm, to offer consumers a free, no-signup CV19 CheckUp assessment tool.

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The quiz includes questions about matters such as age, lifestyle and social distancing habits.

The system then spits out four graphics. One graphic rates how well the survey taker appears to be doing at keeping safe. Another rates the riskiness of the survey taker’s activities, and a third rates the exposure the survey taker faces from the survey taker’s close contacts.

The fourth graphic shows how severe a case of COVID-19 might be if the survey taker ends up with COVID-19.

For a 55-year-old obese individual in New York who always wears a mask out in public but is only moderately good about social distancing, the risk that a case of COVID-19 will lead to hospitalization is about 11%, and the risk that the case will lead to death is about 0.7%, according to the BellAge system.

The system also offers a test taker individual recommendations for reducing risk.

BellAge includes a prominent disclaimer, stating in red letters, “The information provided in this report is not medical advice. It cannot be used to diagnose or treat any medical condition.”

But BellAge offers a chart that provides risk numbers, from 1 to 9, for a variety of common activities.

The chart shows, for example, that outdoor exercise and opening the mail have the lowest level of risk, and that going to a nightclub, a concert or an indoor bar likely has the highest level of risk.

The scoring system uses an artificial intelligence strategy to analyze a survey taker’s answers, New York state officials say.

Developers designed the system to be especially helpful to people seen as high-risk, such as older adults, low-income people, people in ethnic and racial minorities, and LGBTQ people, officials say.

Officials note that, in addition to giving the survey takers personalized information about their COVID-19 risk levels, the system will also give policymakers anonymized data about what the survey takers know about COVID-19 and are doing to try to keep themselves safe from COVID-19.

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