Tuesday, October 27, 2020
My interview on Laurel Highlands Now, Trump Visits to Johnstown, and Changes in COVID-19 cases.
On Sept 23 Donald Trump Jr visited Johnstown to campaign for his father and on Oct 13 his father came here to campaign for reelection. Few at these rallies were wearing masks. The graph above shows the 7 day average for new cases for the county (black line) and the 7 day average for the number of COVID test results for Cambria County (red line). The blue dot on the red line represents the date Trump Jr came here and the yellow dot on the black line represents the date his father came here.
When Trump Jr came here the 7 day average for new cases rose from 3.57 per day on the 23rd to 15.71 per day on Oct. 7. When his father came here the average was 15.43 cases per day. As of today (Oct 27), the rate of new cases is 22.86 cases per day. You can see the database I created for Cambria County here.
The red line shows that there was a spike in testing after the Trump jr rally but decreased after the Trump sr rally. The highest testing rate for the county was back in July.
One must be careful about concluding a cause and effect relationship between these rallies. Part of these numbers may have been buoyed by an outbreak at the Cambria County jail in early October which is in the Ebensburg zip code in the center of the county. Someone could have brought the virus into the jail from the rally or vice versa. Without access to contact tracing data, I cannot tell.
Since the Trump Jr rally the number of cases in Johnstown (all the 15901 thru 15909 or 1590x zip codes from 256 to 391, an increase of 135 or 52.7%. Outside of Johnstown (everywhere in the county except the 15901 thru 15909 zip codes), the number of cases rose from 307 to 682, an increase of 307 or 122.1%. Many from outside of the 1590x zip codes probably did attend the Trump rallies. The surrounding counties did see a similar jump in cases.
In 2016, much was written about Trump winning the county with 66.8% of the vote. I pointed out later that Hillary Clinton won the 20 precincts in the City of Johnstown with 48.4% of the vote. These precincts overlap the 1590x zip codes and are contained inside them. The image above shows the concentration of COVID-19 cases on October 27 and the image below shows what it looked like on July 1. The Johnstown zip codes are in the southwest corner of the state. The election result suggests that Trump is more popular outside the Johnstown zip codes and people there are more likely to attend Trump rallies and may be less likely to follow social distancing and masking guidelines.
The Tribune Democrat reports that there have been 156 COVID-19 cases at the County Jail since Sep 28. This accounts for around 78% of the cases in the Ebensburg zip code (15931). Subtracting the Jail total for the county total of 1,073 gives a total of 917 outside the jail for the county. Since September 28 there have been 521 new cases in the county. Subtracting the 156 cases in the jail from the 499 gives 343 new cases among those who were not directly tied to the jail for this period. 31.3% of the new cases from this period occurred at the jail.