COVID19

COVID-19

via Wikipedia:

Donald Gerard McNeil Jr. is an American journalist. He was a science and health reporter for The New York Times where he reported on epidemics, including HIV/AIDS and the COVID-19 pandemic. His reporting on COVID-19 earned him widespread recognition for being one of the earliest and prominent voices covering the pandemic.

A few days ago, Mr. McNeil posted an essay on Medium:

Trump Backs Boosters. Clearly, Someone Did the Math for Him.

  • Trump is losing hundreds of voters a day to Covid — far more than the margins in the swing states.

Math is not Donald Trump’s strong point.

Example: In 1988, he paid $408 million for the Plaza Hotel and spent millions making it gaudier. Seven years later, his creditors sold it for $325 million. And yet he styles himself a business genius.

COVID

For months I posted weekly looks at the rate of COVID-19 cases & deaths at the county level since the end of June, broken out by partisan lean (i.e, what percent of the vote Donald Trump received in 2020), as well as by the vaccination rate of each county in the U.S. (nonpartisan).

This basically amounts to the point when the Delta Variant wave hit the U.S., although it had been quietly spreading under the radar for a few months prior to that.

Now that we're a full month into the Omicron Variant wave, I've updated my case/death rate tracking to reflect that as well...because the data so far is showing a completely new chapter as we enter the 3rd year of the Coronavirus Pandemic.

The "start" of the Delta Wave was easy to lock in for my purposes; both cases and deaths from COVID had dropped off dramatically right up until around the end of June. The Delta Wave started showing up in the daily deaths pretty quickly as July started. The transition from the Delta to Omicron was a lot fuzzier, but I've decided to go with December 15th as my transition point.

As always, here's my methodology:

COVID-19 Vaccine

Methodology reminders:

  • I go by county residents who have received the 2nd COVID-19 shot only (or 1st in the case of the J&J vaccine).
    • (data for 3rd/booster shots aren't available at the county level in most states yet)
  • I base my percentages on the total population via the 2020 U.S. Census as opposed to adults only or those over 11 years old (or even over 4 years old).
  • For most states + DC I use the daily data from the Centers for Disease Control, but there are some where the CDC is either missing county-level data entirely or where the CDC data is less than 90% complete at the county level. Therefore:
    • For Vermont, Virginia and West Virginia, I'm using data from the COVID Act Now Risk & Vaccine Tracker database
      • NOTE: I've started using the official state health department dashboard for Virginia this week due to some weirdness in the COVID Act Now data. Unfortunately the VA Health Dept. dashboard doesn't allow you to export, view or download all 95 counties/city-counties at once, making this a tedious effort, so I'm not sure how I'll deal with it going forward.
COVID

For months I've been posting weekly looks at the rate of COVID-19 cases & deaths at the county level since the end of June, broken out by partisan lean (i.e, what percent of the vote Donald Trump received in 2020), as well as by the vaccination rate of each county in the U.S. (nonpartisan).

This basically amounts to the point when the Delta Variant wave hit the U.S., although it had been quietly spreading under the radar for a few months prior to that.

Now that we're several weeks into the Omicron Variant wave, I've decided that it's time to update my case/death rate tracking to reflect that as well...because the data so far is showing a completely new chapter as we enter the 3rd year of the Coronavirus Pandemic.

The "start" of the Delta Wave was fairly easy to lock in, at least for my purposes, because thanks to the initial vaccination surge, both cases and deaths from COVID had dropped off dramatically right up until around the end of June. The Delta Wave started showing up in the daily deaths pretty quickly as July started, as shown below.

COVID-19 Vaccine

Methodology reminders:

  • I go by county residents who have received the 2nd COVID-19 shot only (or 1st in the case of the J&J vaccine).
    • (data for 3rd/booster shots aren't available at the county level in most states yet)
  • I base my percentages on the total population via the 2020 U.S. Census as opposed to adults only or those over 11 years old (or even over 4 years old).
  • For most states + DC I use the daily data from the Centers for Disease Control, but there are some where the CDC is either missing county-level data entirely or where the CDC data is less than 90% complete at the county level. Therefore:
    • For Vermont, Virginia and West Virginia, I'm using data from the COVID Act Now Risk & Vaccine Tracker database
      • NOTE: I've started using the official state health department dashboard for Virginia this week due to some weirdness in the COVID Act Now data. Unfortunatley the VA Health Dept. dashboard doesn't allow you to export, view or download all 95 counties/city-counties at once, making this a tedious effort, so I'm not sure how I'll deal with it going forward.
COVID-19 Vaccine

Methodology reminders:

  • I go by county residents who have received the 2nd COVID-19 shot only (or 1st in the case of the J&J vaccine).
    • (data for 3rd/booster shots aren't available at the county level in most states yet)
  • I base my percentages on the total population via the 2020 U.S. Census as opposed to adults only or those over 11 years old (or even over 4 years old).
  • For most states + DC I use the daily data from the Centers for Disease Control, but there are some where the CDC is either missing county-level data entirely or where the CDC data is less than 90% complete at the county level. Therefore:
    • For Vermont, Virginia and West Virginia, I'm using data from the COVID Act Now Risk & Vaccine Tracker database
      • NOTE: There's several counties in Virginia where I'm using the official state health department dashboard instead this week specifically due to some weirdness in the COVID Act Now data. If these issues continue I may have to switch to the state dashboard for all counties for VA going forward, which would be a royal pain given the inability to export every county at once.
COVID-19 Vaccine

via Laurie McGinley of the Washington Post:

The Food and Drug Administration on Monday authorized booster shots of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine for 12- to 15-year-olds, an effort to bolster protection as schools reopen amid a surge of infections caused by the omicron variant.

The agency also cleared booster shots for children 5 to 11 with compromised immune systems. And it said anyone eligible for a booster could get the shot five months after receiving the second Pfizer-BioNTech shot, down from six months.

The FDA actions are expected to be reviewed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and its panel of outside vaccine advisers this week. Assuming the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, which is scheduled to meet Wednesday, signs off on the additional shots, CDC director Rochelle Walensky is expected to officially recommend them later that day.

COVID

Here's the weekly look at the rate of COVID-19 cases & deaths at the county level since the end of June, broken out by partisan lean (i.e, what percent of the vote Donald Trump received in 2020).

As always:

The partisan ratio of case rates are now only running 1.6x higher per capita in the reddest tenth of the country than the bluest tenth, down from 3.0x higher in late October, 2.4x higher two weeks ago and 2.0x higher just a week ago, reflecting how contagious the Omicron variant is in terms of infecting people even if they're fully vaccinated (death rates are clearly a very different story, however, as you'll see below):

COVID

UPDATE: Quite a few people are telling me that I'm being too conservative in my assumptions below, and they make a very good case based on the anti-mask and anti-vaxx mindset among Republicans, Trump voters tendency to be older than Biden voters and so forth. I AGREE WITH ALL OF THIS. I'm still trying to be as cautious/conservative as possible, however, because this is a very ugly & touchy subject and because there are still a lot of unknowns.

As I note below, even in a heavily Trump-leaning county, the bulk of the COVID deaths could be among Biden voters. It's not likely but it's possible and I'm trying to keep that in mind here.

National Center for Health Statistics

NOTE: See important updates towards the bottom, including age-adjusted versions of both the monthly & cumulative graphs.

Back in August, a very smart & savvy Twitter friend of mine who goes by the name of Propane Jane started a thread about the racial (and racist) aspects of the COVID pandemic response, both in terms of infection, death & vaccination rates as well as other societal policies like in-person schools, mask mandates and so forth. It's a great thread and I highly recommend reading the whole thing, which starts here.

She's continued to update the thread from time to time (the most recent update was on November 30th), but there was one tweet mid-thread which caught my eye the other day:

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