Sunday, February 14, 2021

Covid-19 data analysis wrap up

I began tracking covid-19 when it first became visible in Kentucky in March of 2020. I began tracking this data to make informed decisions for my family and anyone else that felt it of value. Early on I used covid-19 data based on official media reports from Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear. In those early weeks there were no local entities providing reliable information to the public and there was little by way of offering good public health advice.

Since March 2020 many institutions and academics around the United States and the world have recognized the need for collecting good data and making it available to the public. While early on we did have some state and county level information, I recognized that covid-19 was having different impacts from locality to locality. While it was important to have information from the national and state-level, I felt it necessary to not only have local data but to have an understanding of that data. Simply put, what was happening in New York or Florida was not necessarily happening in Owensboro-Daviess County.

In the spirit of openness and transparency I created a Facebook page on May 17, 2020: Owensboro: Managing Covid-19. I initially began that page to collect peoples’ stories about how they were managing covid-19. I was transparent about my intentions to collect that information as historical record and for students in my future sociology courses. Soon thereafter I decided to start publishing my data analysis on that Facebook page to make it completely accessible to the general public.

It's my experience in Owensboro-Daviess County that we often times do not seek quality data and we also do not always make decisions based on quality data. This issue can be found not only in the general public but within organizations and institutions and how they communicate or do not communicate with the general public. Unfortunately I find that data analysis of the type that I provided is not valued in the community.  

Given that the availability of data has come so far over the past year and any person interested in learning more about new cases and trends can access data, today I’m announcing that I am going to scale back my efforts of providing this data analysis to the Owensboro-Daviess County community. Given the rate of increase of vaccinations and the increased availability of good information, I feel the local general public is at a better position to be better informed as we continue to work to manage covid-19.  

I firmly believe that in order to make good decisions we need good data. Good data may not satisfy a political viewpoint but good data can help us make good decisions. We did and still do have an opportunity to understand our local dynamic and make better decisions for ourselves. Making better decisions not only involves the physical health of individuals, but also the mental health and economic well being of our community. We are better off when we make decisions based upon good information rather than the political winds that may blow. Those political winds blow in schools, businesses, elected offices, and even in the healthcare community.

The United States currently has an administration that is providing more focus on making data available to the public and focusing on public health science. As a result there are many websites that not only report national data, but there's very good data on many websites even about the local level. These topics range from testing, test positivity, new cases, number of tests, hospital admissions, ICU occupation rates, and more.

As always, if you need any assistance on better understanding this type of data, feel free to contact me. If I can't answer your questions I can help point you in the right direction to get the best information available. The best information might not reveal what you want to hear, but it will give you a better handle on the truth.

As of this posting below are two websites with a wealth of data:

CDC Covid Tracker

Johns Hopkins University and Medicine Coronavirus Resource Center

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