• By Deb Balzer

Forecast your travel plans with COVID-19 predictive modeling tools

December 17, 2021

Like checking the weather before making traveling plans, members of the Mayo Clinic Predictive Modeling Task Force are hoping people turn to the U.S. COVID-19 map to help make decisions this holiday season.

Scientists from multiple disciplines work together to track cases of COVID-19, helping the task force put together a model that incorporates real time data to predict COVID-19 cases.

"This model was initially used to predict COVID-19 hospitalizations across our Mayo Clinic sites in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Arizona and Florida, but has since been adapted to predict cases of COVID-19 for the state of Minnesota, as well as the rest of the country," says Dr. Shannon Dunlay, co-lead of the Mayo Clinic COVID-19 Predictive Modeling Task Force.

Watch: Dr. Shannon Dunlay talks about COVID-19 predictive modeling tools.

Journalists: Broadcast-quality sound bites with Dr. Dunlay are in the downloads at the end of the post. Please courtesy: "Shannon Dunlay, M.D. / COVID-19 Predictive Modeling Task Force / Mayo Clinic."

Using the data, the Mayo Clinic Coronavirus Map tracking tool, which has county-by-county information on COVID-19 cases and trends nationwide, offers predictive modeling that forecasts where hot spots will emerge over the next 14 days.

The map can offer information on trends across the U.S, including vaccination rates, and also offers practical implications, says Dr. Dunlay

"There are thousands of decisions that people make every month that could potentially be impacted based on their own personal preferences and risk level as far as whether they would do something or not, depending on where COVID-19 cases are at and headed. It gives you the opportunity to really hone in on a specific area or look at the U.S. broadly and see where they have been and where they're headed."

Using the tool to help make personal decisions about travel is a great option says Dr. Dunlay. She also encourages people to be sure they are vaccinated, get their booster if eligible, mask in public, use good hand hygiene and encourage others to do the same.

"Anything that you can do to stop the spread is going to help to save lives, and then also help to alleviate the burden on hospitals and healthcare workers who are very busy taking care of patients right now with COVID-19, as well as other illnesses."


For the safety of its patients, staff and visitors, Mayo Clinic has strict masking policies in place. Anyone shown without a mask was either recorded prior to COVID-19 or recorded in a nonpatient care area where social distancing and other safety protocols were followed.

Information in this post was accurate at the time of its posting. Due to the fluid nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, scientific understanding, along with guidelines and recommendations, may have changed since the original publication date

For more information and all your COVID-19 coverage, go to the Mayo Clinic News Network and mayoclinic.org.

Learn more about tracking COVID-19 and COVID-19 trends.

Dec. 19, 2021 - Mayo Clinic COVID-19 trending map using red color tones for hot spotscoronavirus-covid-19-map-2021-12-09-16X9