80. Deeper Dive

Saturday August 15 2020

I wanted to take a deeper dive into Governor DeWine’s message of declining cases of COVID-19 today, so I hit the coronavirus.ohio.gov portal to review the data charts available.

While I like that little dip at the end of the line charts, the looking at the numbers might provide more context. The number of cases are indeed below the 21 day average, supporting Governor DeWine’s’ message, but the hospitalization and mortality rates have an uptick.

Source: coronavirus.ohio.gov

Let’s consider that mortality rate.

Since April 15, the number of corona-related deaths in long-term care facilities sits at an estimated 2,128, apparently the biggest percentage as we would expect among our elderly and immune-suppressed community. The chart above supports this with 77% of deaths among those 70 years old and up. Franklin County leads this with 357 deaths, while our Montgomery County has reported 49. It’s interesting that I was unable to find any updated numbers for Ohio’s prison population and I wonder how those deaths affect the percentages.

And to show that data can be manipulated to show different things, let’s consider how the bar chart shows proportionally more death among whites than blacks. What would be more impactful here, I think, is to show the percentages within the minority communities. Instead of reporting 19% of the deaths in Ohio were blacks, it would be more insightful to see the percentage within the minority community.

According to the worldpopulationreview.com, of Ohio’s population of 11,747,700, 82% is white and 12% is black or African American. Using this data, the mortality rate of COVID-19 related deaths is .031% within the white population and .050% within the black and African American population, showing the latter more at risk.

Looking at all these numbers is a distraction for me today. Because when we talk about mortality rates, we can depersonalize the situation we’re in.

Every death was an individual, right?. A person who had a life story and their life mattered. Someone who impacted others with things they did or said or failed to do. They had chapters to their lives that they may have shared with others, but surely took some secrets with them, because they were human.

My mom was just told she was exposed to the coronavirus last week.

I don’t want to talk about it right now.

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