Sunday, September 12, 2021

My Presentation at the Writers Association of Northern Appalachia and the Upcoming Festival of Books in the Alleghenies


 

Hi all, I know that I have been away. I had my presentation at the virtual Writers Association of Northern Appalachia last Saturday.  You can see it above.  Also, this Saturday, Sept.18, I will be at the Festival of Books in the Alleghenies in Ebensburg, PA with 40 other local authors from many genres.  There will be something for everyone.  Come on down!!


**Related Posts** 

Press Release for Festival of Books in the Alleghenies


Thursday, September 2, 2021

Jay Wiedwald's Graphs on "Johnstown" and "Halo" Counties and Coronavirus

 

A follower of my blog named Jay Wiedwald shared some graphs showing how the counties immediately surrounding Cambria have been adversely affected by corona virus.  Jay is a former resident of Johnstown who lived in Moxham.  He includes Bedford, Blair, Cambria, Indiana, and Somerset counties as Johnstown and the surrounding counties ad "Halo" counties.  



In the graph that he created above, he computed the excess death rates from coronavirus for the "Johnstown" Counties, the "Halo" Counties, and Pennsylvania overall.  Excess death rates compared death rates for last fall and winter to death rates from previous years on the same day.  It shows that the Johnstown Counties had higher death rates after the Trump rally on October 13 compared to PA and the "halo" counties.


The graph above also shows a steady increase in case mortality rates for Cambria County after the Trump rally indicated by the yellow dot.  These are changes in the cumulative rates since the beginning of the pandemic.  Currently Cambria's rate (2.89%) is 33% higher that Pennsylvania's and 77% higher than the U.S. case mortality rate.  Recently the rates for Cambria, PA and the U.S. have declined due to the number of cases rising faster than the number of deaths.  The decline for PA and the U.S. has been steeper than Cambria's.

The table below summarizes the "Johnstown" and "Halo" counties for COVID mortality as of this writing.  I only have date for the PA 'Halo' counties. The 'Johnstown' counties indeed do have higher case and population adjusted mortality than PA or the "Halo" counties.  The "Halo" counties have a slightly lower case mortality rate than PA (2.07% for halo vs. 2.17% for PA) but the population adjusted rate is slightly higher for PA (222.60 for halo vs. 221.15 for PA).  The "Johnstown" counties have a 28% higher case mortality rate (2.78% for 'Johnstown' vs. 2.17% for PA) a 33% higher population adjusted mortality rate 293.6 for 'Johnstown' vs. 221.25 for PA.

Thank you Jay for Bringing this to my attention.  

Johnstown Counties

Cases

Deaths

Case mortality

Population

Deaths/100000

Bedford

            5,045

              144

2.85%

           47,888

300.70

Blair

          14,126

              346

2.45%

121,829

284.00

Cambria

15,570

449

2.88%

130,192

344.88

Indiana

6,928

184

2.66%

84,073

218.86

Somerset

6,561

220

3.35%

73,447

299.54

Total 'Johnstown' Counties

48,230

1,343

2.78%

457,429

293.60

PA

1,308,284

28,325

2.17%

12,801,989

221.25

Halo Counties

Cases

Deaths

Case mortality

Population

Deaths/100000

Armstrong

6,434

151

2.35%

64,735

233.26

Centre

17,766

231

1.30%

162,385

142.25

Clearfield

9,264

166

1.79%

79,255

209.45

Fayette

14,231

335

2.35%

129,274

259.14

Franklin

16,925

381

2.25%

155,027

245.76

Fulton

1,513

18

1.19%

14,530

123.88

Huntingdon

5,502

137

2.49%

45,144

303.47

Jefferson

3,568

100

2.80%

43,425

230.28

Westmoreland

36,940

802

2.17%

348,899

229.87

Total ‘Halo’ Counties

112,143

2,321

2.07%

1,042,674

222.60

PA

1,308,284

28,325

2.17%

12,801,989

221.25

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Friday, August 27, 2021

Press Release for Festival of Books in the Alleghenies

 


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

 

Local Author Selected For Regional Festival

(Ebensburg, PA) This year, Ebensburg will be host to The Festival of Books in the Alleghenies which will be held on Saturday, September 18, 2021 from 9AM until 4PM in Historic Ebensburg. This 4th annual regional festival is free to attend and will feature about 50 authors, local music, a children's area, writing workshops and storytellers. Proceeds from the festival will benefit county literacy initiatives. The Festival is a fund under the Community Foundation of the Alleghenies.

Local author, Paul Ricci, has been selected to be one of the authors at this year’s event. Ricci is a statistician who was born and lives in Johnstown, PA. He tracks coronavirus numbers for Cambria County, loves bicycling, and teaches at Pennsylvania Highlands Community College. He also blogs on statistics and a wide variety of issues at CSI without Dead Bodies (https://www.csiwithoutdeadbodies.com/). The title is a pun on the TV Show CSI.

 

For more information visit the event webpage at https://festivalofbooks.org/

 

###

Hope to see you all on Sept. 18


Saturday, August 21, 2021

The Debacle in Afghanistan was Bound to Happen No Matter How Long We Stayed

We are hearing a chorus of shock at how fast the Taliban took control of Afghanistan a few weeks after the US withdrew its combat forces.  By contrast, it took almost 2 years for the South Vietnamese government to fall after the US withdrew.  In both cases, we had no understanding of their culture and were propping up an unpopular puppet government.  

An argument was made that the invasion of Afghanistan was more justified than the Vietnam war was because the Taliban harbored al Qaida when they attacked us on 9/11.  The Taliban did offer to hand Osama bin Laden et al. over in return for showing them the evidence of their involvement in the attack.  It was rejected out of hand by the Bush administration.  We will never know sincere this offer was.  If Bush had complied with the request and the Taliban had reciprocated, thousands of lives and trillions of dollars could have been saved.


Polls have shown that the average Afghan never heard of the 9/11 attacks.  They only knew that we were attacking them 12 years after we supported them against the Soviet Union.  After we launched our invasion in 2001, the Taliban melted away just as quickly as they retook the country.  In the meantime, we launched our invasion of Iraq and turned it into yet another breeding ground for terrorism.  The Afghanistan papers discussed above showed many of the same private doubts by U.S. political and military leaders that they had in Vietnam but they kept pushing ahead in both cases and lied to the public.

Vietnam should have taught us the limits of US military power.  It is meaningless without popular legitimacy.  The Vietnamese and the Afghans used many of the same tactics against us that we used against the British in the American Revolution.

Concerns about how women will be treated there are legitimate.  We should remember that it was only 101 years ago that women won the right to vote in this country after many years of disappointment and struggle.  In the Victorian era it was considered obscene for a woman to expose here ankles.  These things were eventually changed without dropping bombs on people.  There are far fewer hard feelings when it works out that way.

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Wednesday, August 4, 2021

The Pandemic's 5th Wave

There have been many news reports on Coronavirus surges in the U.S. recently, especially among the unvaccinated in the south.  The graph above shows that Cambria County is experiencing its 5th surge in COVID-19 cases.  The first surge was in the Spring of 2020.  The second was from late July to early August of last year.  The third was after Donald Trump's visits to the area (by Jr and Sr) from October to December and was by far the worst.  The fourth occurred from mid March to mid April of this year.  

 

We are now seeing a 5th surge following super-spreader events such as Thunder in the Valley.  The surge began on July 10 when there was a 7 day new case average of 0.71 cases per day to an average of 10.14 cases per day as of this writing.  The last death in the county was reported on July 1.  There have been 35 straight days with no new reported deaths since then.  The above graph shows that the number of cases hospitalized have decreased to a low of 3 on July 19 but has since risen to 12 as of this writing. As of yet there has been no corresponding increase in the number of cases on a ventilator.   

The graph at the left shows that a similar pattern is occurring in the state of Pennsylvania in the number of new cases.  The graph below shows that there has not yet been a corresponding increase in the number of deaths.  If the rise in the number of cases continues to accelerate, this luck will eventually run out. 

The vaccine rollout being given to the most vulnerable populations first makes it unlikely that the surge in cases and deaths will reach the awful levels seen last fall and winter. The slowing vaccination rate means that smaller surges can happen.  I have no information on how many new cases are due to the delta variant in the county.  The delta variant is not resistant to the vaccines.  The nightmare scenario is that a new variant could evolve that is resistant to the vaccines.  This would put us back to where we started with the pandemic.  Get the shots.


**Related Posts**

100 COVID-19 Deaths in Cambria County Since the Candlelight Vigil