Friday, June 24, 2022

A look at Race/Ethnicity and South Central PA COVID Vaccination and Case Mortality Rates

I have been using the stat package R to create graphics. Above is a graph from R that uses the same variables in a graph from the last post: case mortality and the average number of mentally unhealthy days in the last month. I was able to add another layer to the graph by color coding each county by the full vaccination rate. Counties with higher vaccination rates are lighter colored and those with lower rates are darker colored. Graphics like these are useful for showing the effects of more than two variables. 

The main thrust of this post looks at correlations with COVID vaccination and Case Mortality rates in different ethnicities. If the rates by race/ethnicity are higher than overall rates, that suggests that there is more of an issue with that group in the 10 county region. If the rates are lower, then there is a potential confounding for this variable. Some counties do not have values for different ethnicities as they may have small populations of that group.

% Screened for a Mammogram

There was no overall correlation for vaccination or case mortality.  There was a significant negative correlation for white percent screened and case mortality (-0.92).  Only 6 out of the 10 counties had rates for whites and African Americans and 5 for Hispanics and Asians. For these counties, 84% of the variability in case mortality is accounted for by the % of whites screened. For the other groups the correlations were negative but not as strong. Those rates decreased the overall rate.

% Flu Vaccination

There was a significant positive correlation (0.704) for the flu and COVID vaccination rates and a negative correlation for flu vaccination and case mortality (-0.895) (pictured above with color codes for COVID vaccination rates). The white vaccination rates were virtually identical to the overall rates. All 10 counties had white rates while 6 had rates for Asians, 8 for African Americans, and 9 for Hispanics. Correlations were weakest for African Americans.

% Driving Alone to Work

There was a significant positive correlation between COVID case mortality rates and the % driving alone to work (0.73). Even though only five counties had rates for whites (pictured above), there was a significant positive correlation for them at 0.946. Centre county has a lower rate for driving alone to work for the overall and white rate due to better public transportation with Penn State University present. There were 4 counties with rates for Hispanics and African Americans and 2 for Asians. The rates were positive for the other groups but much weaker for Hispanics and African Americans.

These correlations for other groups highlight disparities within the counties. I have written before on racial disparities in Cambria County and presented at the Juneteenth celebrations. My slides from the presentations are presented below. This is just for one county. Other disparities are present in the other counties.

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