Sunday, May 2, 2021

COVID-19 Cases Have Risen in Cambria County but Deaths Have Not Due to Vaccinations (so far)

The second installment of We Are All In This Together: Pandemic-Johnstown 1918 has come out and can be seen above.  Recently there has been a rise in cases as spring has sprung.  Since the terrible months of December and January, the 7 day average for new cases fell from 214.29 on Dec 11 to 14.29 on March 20.  Since then, the 7 day average has risen to a high of 58.43 on April 19 to 49.29 today as can be seen in the graph below.  This rise has occurred after the vaccine rollout began on Jan 8.

Since the cases have risen, the deaths in the county have remained fairly stable as can be seen in the above graph.  The 7 day average for deaths reached a high of 8.14 deaths per day on Dec 17 (6 days after the spike in cases).  Since March 16, the average has not risen above 1 death per day.  

The graph above shows the trend in the 7 day average for new cases (black line), testing (red dotted line) and full vaccinations (orange line).  The lines for testing and vaccinations are on a logarithmic scale.  The number of full vaccinations per day has fallen from a high of 855.4 on April 14 to 399.9 today.  On April 13 all Pennsylvanian's over age 16 became eligible to receive the vaccine.  To date 40,920 of 31.43% in Cambria County have been fully vaccinated.

This graph from the state department of health shows that the majority of cases are between the ages of 20 and 59 throughout the state.  This information is not available at the county level.

This final graph shows that the vast majority of deaths in PA have been between ages 60 and 99.  The early phases of the vaccine rollout have focused on groups most vulnerable such as the elderly.  The vaccinations seem to be curtailing the number of deaths even though there has been a rise in cases.  The younger age groups still need to be vaccinated to stop the spread of the virus.  

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Sunday, April 25, 2021

The 1918 Spanish Flu Pandemic in Johnstown

In this Together Cambria has created a series of short films on the 1918 Spanish Flu Pandemic to show how similar it is to what is happening today with the coronavirus.  Above is the first part of a four part series produced by UPJ professor Paul D. Newman.  It was filmed at the Oklahoma House at the Johnstown Flood Museum.  The next three parts will debut on their YouTube channel.  

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Our Webinar on the Corona Virus Numbers in Cambria County

Friday, April 16, 2021

Some Clues for Racial Disparities for Cambria County

Last week I posted on the racial disparities in health outcomes in Cambria County.  These disparities are primarily what is driving the low rankings for the county in the County Health Rankings.

County Health Rankings provides a wealth of statistics called health factors which provide clues to these disparities.  Here is a list:

  • 9% of the live births in the county from 2013-2019 are low birthweight which is 1% higher then the state rate. 16% of African American births are low birthweight compared to 12% of Hispanic and 6% of Caucasian births. in the county
  • The teen birth rate is 20 per 1,000 live births from 2013-2019 compared to 17/1,000 for PA.  For African Americans it is 54/1,000, 19/1,000 for Hispanics, and 18/1,000 in the county.
  • The drug overdose death rate from 2017-2019 was 52 per 100,000 for the county.  For Pennsylvania it is 37/100,000.  For African-Americans the rate was 112/100,000  and for Caucasians it was 50/100,000.  According to the website Overdose free PA, there were 18 overdose deaths among African Americans (orange bar in the above graph) in the county from 2017-2019 out of 204 total overdose deaths or 8% of the total.

  • The rate of preventable hospital stays per 100,000 Medicare enrollees for 2018 is 5,762 in the county compared 4464 for PA.  The African American Rate is 6,154 while it is 5,779 for Caucasians in the county.
  • The rate of mammography screening is 42% for the county for Medicare enrollees for 2018 while it is 45% for the county.  For African Americans it is 31% compared to 38% for Asians, 50% for Hispanics, and 42% of Caucasians in the county.
  • The rate of flu vaccinations is 41% overall for the county for Medicare enrollees in 2018 compared to 53% for PA.  For African Americans the rate was 36% in the county while it was 45% for Asians and Hispanics and 41% for Caucasians.
  • The overall rate of child poverty was 23% for the county for 2019 while it was 17% for PA.  For African Americans it was 67% in the county while it was 19% for Asians, 42% for Hispanics, and 20% for Caucasians.
  • Median income in the county was $48,800 for 2019 while it was $63,500 in PA.  For African Americans it was 18,900 in the county while for Asians it was $90,000, for Hispanics it was $35,100, and for Caucasians it was $48,100.
  • The injury death rate was 128 per 100,000 for the county from 2015-2019 while it was 89/100,000 for PA.  For African-Americans it was 221/100,000 and 126/100,000 for Caucasians in the county.
  • The homicide death rate was 6/100,000 for the county from 2013-2019 while it was 5/100,000 from 2013-2019.  For African Americans it was 50/100,000 while it was 4/100,000 for Caucasians in the county.
  • For firearm fatalities the rate was 16/100,000 from 2015-2019 while it was 12/100,000 for PA.  For African Americans it was 41/100,000 and 15/100,000 for Caucasians in the county.
  • For reading scores, the average grade level was 3.1 for 3rd graders in both the County and PA in 2018.  For African Americans it was at a 2.2 grade level and 3.2 for Caucasians in the county.
  • For math scores, the average grade level for 3rd graders was 3.1 for both the county and PA in 2018.  For African Americans it was at a 2.0 grade level and 3.2 for Caucasians in the county
  • Finally the % of residents who drive alone to work for the county was 82% from 2015-2019 while it was 76% for PA.  For African Americans, 62% drives alone to work in the county while it was 65% for Hispanics and 84% for Caucasians.  This could be due to African Americans and Hispanics being more likely to rely on public transportation to get to work.
These 14 statistics provide some clues to the nature of the racial/ethnic disparities in Cambria County.  They suggest violence and poverty as the main explanatory factors.  One must be careful not to assume that they tell the whole story.  They do provide some clues to where public health resources need to be allocated.  It remains to be seen how the Coronavirus pandemic will interact with these health issues.

**Related Posts**

The 2021 County Health Rankings are Out

County Health Rankings and Corona Virus Cases: Lower ranked counties have fewer cases in PA (except for Philly)

Holiday Poverty Estimates for Johnstown and Cambria County

Saturday, April 10, 2021

African Americans Still Lag Behind in Life Expectancy in Cambria County


Cambria County











African American








*Pennsylvania life expectancy by race numbers are from 2010 (Measure of America, 2013) 

In my book, Wuthering Depths in Johnstown: By the Numbers.  I wrote extensively on the 2020 County Health Rankings for Cambria County (where Johnstown is located).  The number that jumped out at me most was racial disparities in mortality data in Cambria county where African Americans had a life expectancy of 65.6 years, Caucasians 76.2 years, and Hispanics 89.0 years.  

This year's life expectancy numbers from the 2021 County Health Rankings are displayed above in the table above for the years 2017-2019 (corona virus deaths are not included).  Cambria County's overall life expectancy increased from 75.6 to 76.1 years (63rd in PA).  Among counties with life expectancies by race, African American life expectancy increased by 1.7 years to 67.3 (the lowest in PA).  Caucasians increased by 0.2 years to 76.4 (3rd lowest ).  Hispanics increased the most by 2.3 years to 91.3 (5th highest in the state).  

Counties with miniscule racial/ethnic minority populations do not have a breakdown for life expectancy by race.  African Americans comprise 3.5% (10.9% of PA) of the county and Hispanics make up 1.8% (7.8% of PA).  Caucasians comprise 92.6% of the county (75.7% of the state).  Approximately 59% of the African Americans in the county live inside the city of Johnstown

Overall the county is 2.6 years behind the US life expectancy.  Caucasians are 2.2 years behind, African Americans are 7.4 years behind, and Hispanics are 9.5 years ahead of the US rate.  Life expectancy is not included in the overall County Health Rankings for Health Outcomes.  Mortality Measured as Years of Potential Life Lost is factored into the rankings which is a measure related to life expectancy.

Years of potential life lost (YPLL) is the number of years lost if someone dies before age 75.  For example, if someone dies at age 25, they have 50 years for potential life lost.  The overall YPLL rate is 9,700 years per 100,000 for the county.  It is 19,900 years per 100,000 for African Americans and 9,400 years per 100,000 for Caucasians.  

The premature age adjusted death rate for the county is the number of deaths under age 75 per 100,000 for the years 2017-2019.  For Cambria it is 440 deaths/100,000.  For African Americans it is 840 deaths/100,000 and for Caucasians it is 430 deaths/100,000.  For Pennsylvania, the overall rate is 350 deaths/100,000.  This measure is provided by County Health Rankings but not factored into the rankings.

The most shocking mortality rate is the child mortality rate which is the number of deaths under the age of 18 per 100,000 for the years 2016-2019.  For Cambria the rate is 50 deaths/100,000 which is the same as PA's rate.  For African Americans in the county, it is 210 deaths/100,000 (the highest in PA) while for Caucasians it is 40 deaths/100,000.  The rate is more than 5 times higher for African Americans. 

The health factors data for the county provides some clues for this discrepancy.  I will discus it in my next post.

**Related Posts**

Why do African Americans live to be 64.8 years in Cambria County?

Friday, April 2, 2021

The 2021 County Health Rankings are Out


The 2021 County Health Rankings are now out for every county in the US.  The rankings use more than 60 government statistics to assess the overall health of each county.  Above is a video description of their model.  They have two overall rankings for the state: Health Outcomes (mortality and quality of life data) and Health Factors (things that contribute to the health outcomes).

The maps above show the rankings for each county in Pennsylvania.  The darker green counties have lower health outcomes rankings while the counties with darker color blue have lower health factors ranking in the map on the right.  Cambria County ranks 62nd in health outcomes (up 2 spots from last year which is not cause for celebration) and 47th on health factors which is down 3 spots since last year.

For me the overall rankings are not as interesting as the underlying statistics used to determine them.  Two individuals can have the exact some IQ score but one can have a high verbal aptitude while another can have an equally high math ability. The graph below shows the trend in mortality data (measured as years of potential life lost or YPLL).

In my book, I went in depth into the rankings to explain why last year's rankings were so low.  It was mostly racial disparities in life expectancy in the county.  In the next few posts I will go in depth into this years numbers.  Corona virus numbers are not yet factored into the rankings as 2019 is the most recent year for mortality data.  The graph above shows that Cambria's rate, though decreasing, is still higher than the state and U.S. rates. 

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The graph above shows that Cambria's rate, though decreasing, is still higher than the state and U.S. rates. 

COVID-19 and County Health Rankings in PA: Which Variables Predict Cases and Deaths

Sunday, March 21, 2021

One Year of Corona Virus in Cambria County

March 23 will be the one year anniversary of the first case of coronavirus in Cambria County.  The graph above shows the trend in cases and vaccinations over the past year.  The graph below shows the trend in deaths.  The first death was reported on April 7.  The county now (as of this writing) has 12,059 cases, 402 deaths, and 19,664 full vaccinations.  As I update the numbers on Google sheets, the numbers on the graphs in this post will be updated.

I have been tracking the number of cases and deaths almost every day over the past year.  It has been a labor of love keeping track of the pandemic here.  The feedback has been mostly positive to this effort.  As more publicly available data has been released over the year, the effort has taken more and more of my time every day.  In addition to the daily posting of numbers, I have written 34 out of 47 posts on corona virus on this blog.  The more insights that I can provide for the public to guide decision making the better.

In This Together Cambria is putting together a slideshow showing the resilience of the area to the past years challenges.  Submissions are due by March 26.  One story I can add is the passing of Rosie Caeti, an old family friend who passed away last on March 13 from complications from Corona Virus at 87.  She used to babysit my dad when he was young.

Soon, the county health rankings for every county in the US will be released for 2021.  I do not yet know how or if coronavirus deaths will factor into the rankings.  

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Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Hate Groups do not Predict Trump % in 2020. It did in 2016

The Southern Poverty Law Center has come out with it's 2020 hate map showing the concentration of hate groups in the US as seen above.  The total number of groups that they follow nationally went down in 2020 to 838 from 940 in 2019.  The high point for hate groups during the Trump years was 2018 with 1,020.  You can see my summary of the numbers here

As before, I adjusted the number of hate groups in each state and expressed it as hate groups per million and correlated it with Trump's support in that state for that year.  As in previous years, the District of Columbia led the nation with 26.9 groups per million but he only received 5.4% of the vote in that state so it was excluded from the above graph.  Montana had the highest hate group rate at 5.61 per million.  New Mexico had the lowest at 0.48 per million.  Pennsylvania's raw number of hate groups was unchanged at 36 from 2019.

The above graph shows a weak positive correlation for Hate Group concentration in 2020 and Trump's % of the vote in last year's election accounting for 5.6% of the variability in his vote.  In 2016, hate group concentration accounted for 20.1% of the variability in his vote that year.  This correlation was almost twice as strong in 2016.  The weaker correlation could be due to greater minority mobilization in 2020.

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