Colorado unveils coronavirus modeling tool for public

Colorado Governor Jared Polis makes a point during a news conference on the state’s efforts to contain the spread of the new coronavirus Thursday, July 9, 2020, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

DENVER  |  Colorado’s Gov. Jared Polis on Thursday unveiled a coronavirus modeling tool that allows the public to input parameters such as age, a percentage of people wearing masks or social distancing to predict a COVID-19 infection rate.

“What happens if the 20-somethings still party but the 68-year-old-pluses all stay at home,” Polis said. “You can actually create all these scenarios yourself.”

The tool is available at

“The goal is to put into the hands of Coloradans the tools that we use to project where the epidemic may go and to allow people to look and see how what they do can affect the course of the epidemic,” said Dr. Jonathan Samet, dean of the Colorado School of Public Health at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus.

Colorado has seen an increase in the rate of confirmed coronavirus infections for the first time since April. The department reported 1,484 additional cases the week ending June 21.

The state saw a rise in confirmed virus cases in both the metro area and the high country reporting double-digit percentage increases in infections during the latter half of June. Although the state has no capacity issues at hospitals, Polis said 11 out of the last 14 days have had an upward trend in cases.

The number of infections is thought to be far higher because many people have not been tested, and studies suggest people can be infected with the virus without feeling sick.

For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death.

State and local public health officials in Colorado have attributed the increase in confirmed cases to behavioral changes as communities and the economy reopen, including less social distancing. There also has been a growing number of infections among young people, with case clusters reported following social gatherings, protests and travel.

The Democratic governor praised local leaders on enforcement and said most of the state’s municipalities have mask-wearing ordinances. However, he criticized the lack of a national response to the virus.

“We have to live with the president and administration we have rather than the administration that we may want,” he said.

Polis also applauded Coloradans for largely following the state’s guidelines compared to residents in the hot spots emerging in other states such as Texas and Arizona.


This story has been updated with the correct website: Polis provided an incorrect link during his news conference.


Nieberg is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues.