The Cass County, Indiana, Easter Effect
As noted in my last post, I have been looking at data. This usually causes trouble, and today is no exception.
As anyone who was paying attention predicted, the “Easter Effect”–a large gathering of people (“EC” or Otherwise) in an enclosed area that likely has multiple asymptomatic carriers (and likely a few with symptoms) is a recipe for infection. With a two- to three-week gestation period, that there was going to be an increase in cases at the end of April was well known. The only question was how much. Without running the numbers carefully, it looks as if it was about 10% above trend.
But the overall data covers for a lot of local sins. If you look at the places that have a high percentage of people infected, the relatively large Metropolitan Areas are no surprise: Providence, Worcester (MA), and NYC suburbs and exurbs (think Rockland, Westchester, Nassau, Suffolk, and Orange Counties in NY State; Passaic, Union, Hudson, Bergen, and my own Essex County in NJ).
But Cass County, Indiana, is running at over a 4% infection rate. With a County size of about 38,000 people, they’re reporting just under 1,600 cases.
Will anyone be surprised that those cases were not evenly distributed? Not really convinced this is what people have in mind when they say, “He is Risen”:
My source is the New York Times’s County-level data (h/t Charles Gaba at acasignups.net); their source is probably the Indiana State Deparment of Health, which has been getting an A+ for their data from the Covid Tracking Project.)
Data excerpt attached below.
Right, asking all the proper questions:
We immediately find that Tyson has a plant there and there is a Delphi facility. Poorly protected workers from relatively poor neighborhoods… The need is to look closely at the makings of such clusters.
Delphi as in automotive?
May 21, 2020
Prominent Scientists Denounce End to Coronavirus Grant
A group of 77 Nobel laureates wants the U.S. government to review a grant cancellation for research in China directly related to preventing pandemics.
By James Gorman
A group of 77 Nobel laureates has asked for an investigation into the cancellation of a federal grant to EcoHealth Alliance, a group that researches bat coronaviruses in China.
The pre-eminent scientists characterized the explanation for the decision by the National Institutes of Health as “preposterous.” The agency said the investigation into the sources of pandemics did not fit “with program goals and agency priorities.”
The Nobel laureates’ letter * followed by a day a letter ** of protest from the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology to the National Institutes on behalf of 31 scientific societies. The societies include tens of thousands of members, the letter stated. It said the grant cancellation politicized science and concluded, “The action taken by the NIH must be immediately reconsidered.”
The Nobel recipients said the grant was canceled “just a few days after President Trump responded to a question from a reporter who erroneously claimed that the grant awarded millions of dollars to investigators in Wuhan.” President Trump said the grant would be ended immediately.
The grant had been given to EcoHealth Alliance, an organization with headquarters in New York that studies the potential for spillover of animal viruses to humans around the globe. The group collaborated with the Wuhan Institute of Virology, which has been at the center of conspiracy theories about how the novel coronavirus originated. Virologists and intelligence agencies agree that the virus evolved in nature and spread from animals to humans.
Days after the news conference in April, the National Institutes of Health emailed Peter Daszak, the head of EcoHealth Alliance. They questioned his work with the Wuhan Institute, and after an exchange of emails, he was informed that the renewal of his grant for more than $3 million was canceled.
Harold E. Varmus, a former director of the N.I.H., said that the government always sets broad priorities for research that some scientists may disagree with, including restrictions on use of embryonic stem cells, but that this research was squarely in line with federal priorities. He called the cancellation “an outrageous abuse of political power to control the way science works.”
Dr. Daszak said that the grant-making agencies score applications for grants. His application for renewal went through the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, led by Dr. Anthony Fauci, which is part of the National Institutes of Health. “We were in the top three percent of grants submitted. I’ve never got a score that good. It clearly was a central, high-impact priority for N.I.H. to fund. And that was 10 months before, before it was terminated.”
Richard J. Roberts, of New England Biolabs, who organized the letter from the laureates, said that when he emailed other Nobel recipients, “the response was overwhelmingly positive and everybody replied very quickly.”
He pointed out the importance of researching the presence of coronaviruses in bats at a time when the world is suffering a pandemic from a coronavirus that overwhelming evidence suggests originated in bats: “If we’re going to cut off funds to someone who is so important in our fight against the coronavirus, where’s it going to stop?”
The laureates sent their letter to Alex M. Azar II, secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, and Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health. They asked the director and secretary to “conduct a thorough review of the actions that led to the decision to terminate the grant, and that, following this review, you take appropriate steps to rectify the injustices that may have been committed in revoking it.”
The letter from the group of scientific societies said, “the decision sets a dangerous precedent” because it offered no “justifiable rationale” for “revoking a grant that was awarded based upon scientific merit.”
At the moment, EcoHealth Alliance is still working in other parts of the world, but it has no ongoing research in China.
Neither the N.I.H. nor the Health and Human Services Department responded to requests for comment in time for publication.
A little more detail for you:
Under Political Pressure, NIH Blacklists Wuhan Virology Lab.
Why US outsourced bat virus research to Wuhan
NIH’s axing of bat coronavirus grant a ‘horrible precedent’ and might break rules, critics say.
Thanks Anne. (I think I remember you from another site.) I was going to check for a slaughterhouse or prison. Those are obvious rural hot spots.
Now I’m curious about the broader spread thanks to the reopening. I’m guessing another two or three weeks.
About the cancellation of the grant to study the coronavirus, the importance of the protest is explained in the letters I linked to and succinctly here:
“Harold E. Varmus, a former director of the N.I.H., said that the government always sets broad priorities for research that some scientists may disagree with, including restrictions on use of embryonic stem cells, but that this research was squarely in line with federal priorities. He called the cancellation ‘an outrageous abuse of political power to control the way science works.’ “
Like everything else over the last three years, little consideration or thought is given regarding the ramifications for decisions on the fly and knee-jerk reactions. I had read the remarks also.
The whole administration is “an outrageous abuse of political power”, not need to be more specific about it. Tell me when they don’t abuse their power, it is less unusual.
Thank you anne….valuable information and presentation no matter what site you grace.
Delphi is the town nearest to the Tyson plant. It is a small town and the county seat of Cass County. I’ve been through there a few times; seems like a nice town.
I worked automotive for a period of time and Delphi is a major supplier of components. Hence, my connection.