Tuesday, February 2, 2021

Our Webinar on the Corona Virus Numbers in Cambria County

Last Tuesday I was a panelist on a webinar explaining the coronavirus numbers in Cambria County.  Other panelists were Jill Henning, Biology Professor at Pitt-Johnstown and Tulsi Shrivastava, a local data scientist.  You can view the slides for the presentation below.  It lasts for 40 minutes.  As of that panel, the county ranked 7th in the state in cases per 100,000, 8th in case mortality (# of deaths/# of deaths), 10th in testing rate, 15th in hospitalizations, 4th in deaths/100,000, 4th in patients on a ventilator/100,000, and 8th in full vaccinations/100,000.


Since then the numbers have changed.  The county now ranks 8th in the state in cases/100,000 at 8,346.  It still ranks 8th in the state in cases mortality at 3.37%.  It now ranks 11th in the state in testing at 38.17%, 10th in the state in hospitalizations at 32.26/100,000, 5th in deaths at 281.12/100,000, 5th in patients on a ventilator at 5.38/100,000, and 11th in full vaccinations at 2,290/100,000.  Recent numbers have been encouraging but we can't let our guard down.

On of the sponsors on the webinar was the Tribune Democrat.  Chip Minemyer, their editor moderated the panel.  The post of the Tribune-Democrat's article received 13 likes and 10 haha's.  Here is a smattering of comments it received on Facebook. 

"it all depends on how the numbers are collected. I have come to the conclusion that it's best not to believe stats."  (liked by 3)

"More propaganda from this site. Terrible." Liked by 5, laughed at by 1, and wowed by 1.

"And if you want it changed to the actual cause do you have to go to court to get it changed?" liked by 1.

"I’ve not seen cycle threshold values reported anywhere. Are those available with local Covid tests?" Liked by none.

"Depends on who inputs the numbers." liked by 2.

"Lol the numbers are wrong, What makes them a expert at a new virus? These people are part of the problem! I know a few people who past with in the past few months and none of them had covid but they mark their death as covid..."  Liked by 5, laughed at by 4, wowed by one.

"like you can trust the trib......lol......" Laughed at by one.

"Numbers do lie when a person with an agenda is on the other end.
Like the crooks in Tom Wolfs administration." Liked by 3, laughed at by one.

 "Why does the The Tribune-Democrat print letters advocating the murder of 74 million people?"

 Laughed at by one.

"As a native of the area, I'm pleased that the Tribune Democrat is still a real newspaper. Bravo!" Liked by 6 laughed at by 3.

"Sounds great if the numbers were 100% accurate" liked by none

" Unless the the people responsible for entering data are compromised" Liked by 4.

Some people may think me sadistic for even looking at these comments  but it does give clues to the thinking of those who In This Together Needs to reach.  I'd love to know how many of them actually read the article.

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Friday, January 22, 2021

An Online discussion of Coronavirus Numbers in Cambria County

On Tuesday, January 19, In This Together: Cambria County had a beautiful candle light vigil on the river wall by the stone bridge in Johnstown.  There was one candle for each of the 340 people who died from the corona virus in Cambria County since the pandemic began as of that day.  There have been 14 deaths in the county since then as of this writing.

In This Together: Cambria was organized as a response to the skyrocketing case and death rate in the county.  They have partnered with The Tribune-Democrat, the 1889 Foundation, Conemaugh Health System, and others.  They have held online events to inform the public on COVID-19 and vaccines and a spiritual prayer service for the holidays.

The next online event that In This Together will be having will be this coming Tuesday, January 26 at 7PM.  It is titled COVID Questions: By the Numbers.  I will be presenting the data that I have collected from Johns-Hopkins online dashboard, from the Pennsylvania Department of Health, and from other sources.  Chip Minemyer, editor of the Tribune Democrat, will be Dr. Jill Henning, PhD will present on the biology of the Coronavirus.  Tulsi Shrivastava will include will be stories of victims of the pandemic to show the human side of the pandemic in the county.  The event will be livestreamed on Zoom at https://pitt.zoom.us/j/94911790258 and at the In This Together Facebook page.  You will be able to ask questions of the other panelists and I.  The taped event will be available on YouTube.  Up coming events will be:

Sunday, January 17, 2021

Chicken's Coming to Roost for Trump?

On Jan 6 I posted my reaction to the shocking events at the U.S. Capitol that day.  I wondered what would happen to Trump's approval ratings as his other antics have had minimal effect on them throughout his presidency.  Now it seems like I have an answer now that there are three days left for him in power.

The graph above shows a sharp drop in the Real Clear Politics (RCP) average in approval rating polls since Jan 6.  Trump's approval rating was 44.2% that day.  Today it is 39.7%, the sharpest decline in his term.  This rating is still 2.7% ahead of the lowest his average approval rating has been back in December 2017.  

Rasmussen (a Republican polling firm) estimates his approval rating to be 48% which is by far the highest of any of the major polling firms.  They limit their sample size to likely voters where the other firms sample from all adult Americans or from registered voters.


Nate Silver's website FiveThirtyEight estimates his average approval rating to be 38.7% which is 1% lower than the RCP average.  They weight their polls by the their quality based on sample size and bias in the selection.  They rate some polls such as ABC News/Washington Post as A grade and others such as Economist/Yougov as B.  Rasmussen is rated as C+.  Otherwise the trend in the poll average for FiveThirtyEight mirrors that of the RCP.  

It remains to be seen what will happen in the upcoming impeachment trial of Trump.  Sixty seven Senators will have to vote to convict him to bar him from ever holding office again.  The decline in his approval ratings may give 17 GOP Senators the courage to vote with the 50 Democrats to do so as it gave 10 GOP House members the courage to break with the rest of their party to impeach.  

Nixon's approval rating was 25.1% before he resigned when GOP senators told him the game was up. Democracy Now has a discussion on what happens next for Trump with historian Tim Snyder.  He does face state level investigations for which he cannot be pardoned either by himself or by his successor.  Snyder says he believes the best option for Trump would be to leave the country.

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Monday, January 11, 2021

A Look at Vaccinations in Pennsylvania: Montour County has a high Vaccination and Hospitalization Rate


With the COVID-19 vaccine rollout the state now provides data for full and partial vaccinations at the county level.  I have looked at the rates of full vaccinations (the number of individuals who received both shots).  After adjusting the numbers for population, Montour County had by far the highest rate of full vaccinations at 2,710 per 100,000 followed by Crawford County at 1,253/100,000 and Union County at 653/100,000.  I looked at the correlations of the vaccination rates with the other rates in the statewide table that I put together for each of the 67 counties in Pennsylvania.  

The highest correlation rate was between the vaccination rate and the hospitalization rate at 0.875 (correlations are on a scale of -1 to +1) so I will focus on this correlation in this post.  The plot above shows the correlation with Montour County as an extreme outlier with a hospitalization rate of 1,020/100,000.  Union County was third in hospitalizations at 100/100,000.  Removing Montour County from the correlation analysis yields a coefficient of 0.263 which is still positive and statistically significant but considerably lower.  The scatterplot below shows the values for the remaining 66 counties.  

Earlier this year I posted on how Montour County was an outlier on the testing rate in the state.  Currently it ranks second in the testing rate at 57.32% behind Union County at 57.64%.  Montour County is also first in the state in the rate of cases on a ventilator at at 104/100,000.  By comparison the county with the second highest ventilator rate is Crawford County at 16.5/100,000.  Right now it seems that a high rate of hospitalizations and ventilator use is what is driving the allocation of vaccinations in the state.

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The Number of Corona Virus Cases in Cambria County has Grown Exponentially While Health Behaviors Predict Cases in PA

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Where do We Stand in 2021?

Happy New Year all.  I started writing this post last night as the numbers were trickling in from the Georgia runoffs last night.  I am surprised as anyone about the events of today.  I admit to finding it frightening that Trump's supporters would resort to occupying the U.S. capitol building.  We knew that this was a possibility as Trump refused to accept the results of the election.  WJAC-TV reports that over 500 people from Cambria, Blair, Somerset, and Bedford counties went to the rally.  The chair of the Cambria County Republican Party, Jackie Kulback, says that they left before the violence began.  Even if it were a peaceful protest they likely were exposed to COVID-19 and brought it back to their homes.

Since the election that Biden won, Trump's approval rating hardly changed from 45.9% to 44.1% today.  How sad it would be if they hardly change after today's events.  It would take about 4 day to a week before we know what impact it has had on his approval ratings.

Warnock and Ossoff have won their Senate races.  This means that the Democrats will technically be in control of the Senate and the House of Representatives once Biden and Harris take office on January 20.  The 50-50 split in the Senate (with Harris as the tiebreaking vote) gives the Democrats more leverage but the Republicans, with Mitch McConnell's leadership, still have the filibuster.  They can use it to block any meaningful legislation with only 40 votes.  

In 2013 McConnell used the filibuster to block a bill banning the use of assault rifles in the wake of the Newtown, CT shooting in which 26 people were killed.  The Democrats had a 54-46 majority at the time and the bill had strong support of the families in Newtown but it didn't matter.  There have 56 mass shootings in the US since then with 445 fatalities according to Mother Jones magazine.

Joe Biden will try to be a return to normalcy President.  Trumpism is unlikely to disappear entirely as it was present before he took office.  Trump's niece Mary says it best:

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Friday, December 25, 2020

Testing and New Cases Declined in Cambria County While The Positive Test Rate Remains High

The graph above shows how the rise in cases appears to be levelling off in Cambria County since Donald Trump came here on October 13. The 7 day average for new cases reached a high of 214.29 on Dec 11 and has steadily decreased to 96.57 on Dec 25 (a 54.7% decrease) as can be seen in the solid black line in the graph below.

Also in the graph above we see that the 7 day average number of test results presented per day in the county (dotted red line in the graph) also decreased from 335 per day on Dec 11 and also decreased to 182 per day on Dec 25, a decrease of 45.7% over the same period.  This is a 9% smaller rate of decrease than that of cases in the county.

This graph above shows how the cumulative positive testing rates for the county (dotted blue line), Pennsylvania (red line), and the U.S. (yellow line).  The 7 day average for positive tests peaked at 68.29% on Dec 8 to 53.14% on Dec 25.  This is only a 22.2% decrease which is smaller than the decrease in cases and testing.  

On December 13 I posted on how the % of test results (46.8% today) for Greater Johnstown (zip codes 15901 thru 15909) was higher than the % of positive cases there (41.1% today).  This suggests that the cumulative testing rate for Johnstown is 31.48% while it is 35.74% for the rest of the county, a 13.53% increase outside of Johnstown.  The cumulative positive testing rate is 16.71% for Greater Johnstown while for the rest of the county it is 21.15%, a 26.54% increase.

While it is encouraging to watch the number of new positive cases decrease in Cambria County, the smaller decrease in the positive cases suggests that there may be more cases that are being missed, especially outside of Greater Johnstown.  The 7 day average for deaths in the county peaked at 8.14 per day on December 17 and decreased to 5 per day this Christmas day.  The peak in deaths came 6 days after the peak in cases in the county.  Lets hope the trend continues.  The Governor's order against dine in restaurant eating and gym us appears to be curtailing the rise in cases.  I wish I had better news this Christmas night.


Dave Sutor of the Tribune Democrat has tweeted that Conemaugh Memorial hospital has rented refrigerator trailers to handle possible over crowding at the morgue.

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Sunday, December 20, 2020

In This Together Cambria Town Hall


I have written extensively on this blog about the coronavirus epidemic in the area The graphs below show how cases and deaths have risen exponentially in Cambria County.  The county now ranks second in Pennsylvania in the number of cumulative cases per 100,000, seventh in deaths per 100,000, sixth in hospitalizations, and fourth in persons on a ventilator.  

In response to the rise in cases and deaths the group In This Together Cambria was formed to inform the public and pressure community leaders to take this pandemic more seriously.  This Tuesday, Dec 22 at 7PM they will be having a virtual town hall.  Chip Minemyer of the Tribune Democrat (who lost his mother to COVID-19) will moderate.  The panelists are UPJ biology professor Jill D. Henning and UPJ communication professor Susan Wieczorek.  You may participate via zoom at  https://pitt.zoom.us/j/92952562170 (Meeting ID: 929 5256 2170) , or you can access it on the phone toll free at 1-877-853-5247.  

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