COVID-19

COVID-19

(Updated as of 7/18/21)

For nearly a year, I posted a weekly analysis of the 100 U.S. counties (out of over 3,100 total) which had the highest cumulative rates of COVID-19 cases and deaths per capita. In addition, I also included a running graph which compared the ratio of COVID cases & deaths per capita between blue and red counties to track how this changed over time.

The results were extremely telling: In the early days of the pandemic back in March/April 2020, the blue counties were devastated for a variety of reasons, including heavy population density, the fact they were mostly located along the coasts (usually in cities with major international ports/airport hubs), and so forth. Democrats tend to live in heavily-populated urban areas, while Republicans are prone to live in more sparsely-populated rural areas, so this made sense.

For the first few months, both case and death rates were running as much as 4-5x higher in counties which voted solidly for Hillary Clinton in 2016/Joe Biden in 2020 than in those which voted for Trump in either 2016 or 2020.

DC Heatlh Link

Washington, DC­­ –The DC Health Benefit Exchange Authority (DCHBX) Executive Board voted to adopt recommendations from its Social Justice and Health Disparities Working Group, in an effort to stop racism in health care. These recommendations are focused on three crucial areas in order to establish practices, structures, and policies that can be implemented by DCHBX and DC Health Link health plans to (1) expand access to providers and health systems for communities of color, (2) eliminate health outcome disparities for communities of color, and (3) ensure equitable treatment for patients of color in health care settings and in the delivery of health care services. There are 100,000 people and more than 5,200 employers with private health insurance coverage through DC Health Link.  DCHBX is responsible for DC Health Link – the Affordable Care Act on-line health insurance marketplace in DC.  The recommendations are for coverage through DC Health Link. However, several recommendations will also benefit residents not covered through DC Health Link.  

COVID-19

 

I'm presenting snippets of these stories without much comment because...really, there's not much more for me to add:

Via Brett Kelman of the Nashville Tennessean, two days ago:

Tennessee fires top vaccine official as COVID-19 shows signs of new spread

The Tennessee state government on Monday fired its top vaccination official, becoming the latest of about two dozen states to lose years of institutional knowledge about vaccines in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.

The termination comes as the virus shows new signs of spread in Tennessee, and the more-transmissible delta variant surfaces in greater numbers.

Dr. Michelle Fiscus, the medical director for vaccine-preventable diseases and immunization programs at the Tennessee Department of Health, said she was fired on Monday afternoon and provided a copy of her termination letter. It provides no explanation for her termination.

Medicaid

A few weeks ago, after the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid (CMS) confirmed over 80 million Americans were enrolled in Medicaid or the CHIP program as of January 2021, I posted an analysis which looked at state Medicaid enrollment data beyond January.

While the "thru dates" vary from as early as February to as recent as June, my overall conclusion was that actual total Medicaid/CHIP enrollment as of last month has continued to grow, and now likely stands at more like 88 million. It's even conceivable that it's broken the 90 million threshold as of July.

As I noted:

Since then, the combination of sudden, massive unemployment combined with the Families First & CARES COVID Relief acts (which boost federal funding of Medicaid programs while also prohibiting states from disenrolling current Medicaid enrollees during the public health crisis) have resulted in overall Medicaid enrollment rising dramatically over the past year and a half.

COVID-19

For nearly a year, I posted a weekly analysis of the 100 U.S. counties (out of over 3,100 total) which had the highest cumulative rates of COVID-19 cases and deaths per capita. In addition, I also included a running graph which compared the ratio of COVID cases & deaths per capita between blue and red counties to track how this changed over time.

The results were extremely telling: In the early days of the pandemic back in March/April 2020, the blue counties were devastated for a variety of reasons, including heavy population density, the fact they were mostly located along the coasts (usually in cities with major international ports/airport hubs), and so forth. Democrats tend to live in heavily-populated urban areas, while Republicans are prone to live in more sparsely-populated rural areas, so this made sense.

For the first few months, both case and death rates were running as much as 4-5x higher in counties which voted solidly for Hillary Clinton in 2016/Joe Biden in 2020 than in those which voted for Trump in either 2016 or 2020.

COVID-19

With the pace of Americans getting vaccinated slowing down to the point that we're not gonna quite meet President Biden's 4th of July target nationally (70% of adults receiving their first COVID-19 vaccination shot), there's a whole lot of hand-wringing about how much of the problem is access (i.e., people not being able to get time off of work, not having transportation to the clinic to get the shot, etc), how much of it is hesitancy (concerns about safety/efficacy, etc), and how much of it is about...well, to put it gently, being a lost or damaged soul.

Well, a new poll conducted by YouGov for Yahoo News may help answer that question (h/t Richard Skinner for the heads up). The poll, of nearly 1,600 U.S. adults, was conducted from June 22 - 24th. I've reformatted the relevant question below to fit better on this site.

The actual question as worded was: "How would you describe your personal situation regarding COVID-19 vaccines?"

COVID-19

It's been clear for a couple of weeks now that, while many individual states have already long since surpassed it, nationally we aren't going to quite achieve President Biden's goal of at least 70% of U.S. adults getting their first COVID-19 vaccination shot.

With 4 days to go, we currently stand at 66.5% of all adults w/their first shot...exactly 95% of the way towards the target.

That's around 9 million adults shy of the 7/04 target...with only around 300K - 400K adults getting their first shot each day. We're likely to end up around 7.7 million short, or right around 67% of all adults.

As the Kaiser Family Foundation's Larry Levitt just noted:

This held up. 70% of adults vaccinated by July 4th was not a low bar designed for an easy political win. And, it will still be an important goal even after July 4th passes and President Biden’s target isn’t achieved, as expected. https://t.co/J0nB9XXECu

— Larry Levitt (@larry_levitt) June 30, 2021

COVID-19

This would seem to be an obvious headline, but it's still important to have the official data. Via Rolling Stone:

This week CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said adult deaths from Covid-19 are “at this point entirely preventable” due to the effectiveness of vaccines. And a new analysis from the AP confirms what Walensky said.

According to the analysis of government data from May, released on Thursday, out of the 18,000 Covid-19 deaths during the month, approximately 150 were fully vaccinated people. That comes out to 0.8 percent, or an average of five deaths per day out of more than 200 average daily deaths. At the height of the pandemic in January of this year, average daily deaths were above 3,400 per day. Additionally, fully vaccinated people accounted for fewer than 1,200 of more than 853,000 hospitalized with the virus (0.1 percent).

COVID-19

The data below comes from the GitHub data repositories of Johns Hopkins University, except for Utah, which comes from the GitHub data of the New York Times due to JHU not breaking the state out by county but by "region" for some reason.

Important:

  • Every county except those in Alaska lists the 2020 Biden/Trump partisan lean; Alaska still uses the 2016 Clinton/Trump results (the 2020 Alaska results are only available by state legislative district, not by county/borough for some reason...if anyone has that info let me know.)
  • I define a "Swing District" as one where the difference between Biden & Trump was less than 6.0%. FWIW, there's just 188 swing districts (out of over 3,100 total), with around 33.8 million Americans out of 328 million total (50 states + DC), or roughly 10.2% of the U.S. population.

With those caveats in mind, here's the top 100 counties ranked by per capita COVID-19 cases as of Saturday, June 5th, 2021 (click image for high-res version).

  • Blue = Joe Biden won by more than 6 points
  • Orange = Donald Trump won by more than 6 points
  • Yellow = Swing District (Biden or Trump won by less than 6 points)
COVID-19

The data below comes from the GitHub data repositories of Johns Hopkins University, except for Utah, which comes from the GitHub data of the New York Times due to JHU not breaking the state out by county but by "region" for some reason.

Important:

  • Every county except those in Alaska lists the 2020 Biden/Trump partisan lean; Alaska still uses the 2016 Clinton/Trump results (the 2020 Alaska results are only available by state legislative district, not by county/borough for some reason...if anyone has that info let me know.)
  • I define a "Swing District" as one where the difference between Biden & Trump was less than 6.0%. FWIW, there's just 188 swing districts (out of over 3,100 total), with around 33.8 million Americans out of 328 million total (50 states + DC), or roughly 10.2% of the U.S. population.

With those caveats in mind, here's the top 100 counties ranked by per capita COVID-19 cases as of Tuesday, May 25th, 2021 (click image for high-res version).

  • Blue = Joe Biden won by more than 6 points
  • Orange = Donald Trump won by more than 6 points
  • Yellow = Swing District (Biden or Trump won by less than 6 points)

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