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Is Your Area Prepared for Coronavirus


View and download Coronavirus Risk Data

In the face of this Coronavirus crisis, we’ve assembled a special dataset of Coronavirus risk factors and we’re releasing it to the public in the hopes that it will aid health experts and policy officials in preparation for the coming storm.

You can view the entire data set here, as well as copy the data for your own analysis.

We call it the “Coronavirus Risk Assessment Toolkit” or CRAT.  It consists of the following metrics which have been identified by the health community as key resources or risk factors affecting the impact of Coronavirus.

  • Population
  • Hospitals
  • Hospital beds
  • ICU beds
  • Percent of population over 65 years
  • Percent of population over 80 years
  • Percent of population with poor or fair health
  • Percent of population with diabetes
  • Percent of population over with obesity
  • Population density

We have these risk factors in four separate databases:

  • States and U.S.
  • 383 metropolitan areas
  • 3143 all U.S. counties
  • 1973 rural counties (not part of a metro area)

One important feature of the CRAT is the inclusion of metropolitan areas.  Other risk factor data sets have been at the state or county level but this is first we’ve seen which aggregates data at the metro area.  This is significant because even if there are no hospitals or ICU beds in some of the smaller counties of a metro area, its health resources are commonly available to all residents of the metro.

Sample of the CRAT Data

 

Each of the geographies is coded with standard Census FIPS codes so the data can easily be combined with other datasets or visualized with any GIS application.  If a county is one of the 383 U.S. metropolitan areas, it’s tagged with the name and code of its metro area, relating it to the Metro Area table.

We see this being a valuable resource for a variety of groups:

  • National health officials can use it to identify potential hot spots before they flare up.
  • State and local health officials can compare their locale against areas of known infection, to assess the possible impact on their area.
  • Policy makers and politicians can gain insights from the statistics which can help them gain better insights into the magnitude of the impact.
  • The media can use the data for stories about the resources available in their area, how local risk factors compare with the rest of the state and nation, and helping to power some data-driven journalism.
  • The public is able to do their own assessment, perhaps finding some of their own answers to questions that have been raised by all the Coronavirus news.

 

No Risk Index?

One thing that the BestPlaces team is not doing is taking the final step of creating a Coronavirus Risk Index.  To do that, we’d assign a level of weighting to each of the risk factors, and this is best done by health experts and scientists.  Assigning a Risk Index for a particular place may have serious repercussions.  A high Risk Index for a county or city could lead to increased fear and anxiety, and a low Risk Index may give a false sense of security.  Accordingly, we will leave this calculation of a Risk Index in the hands of the scientific community.

However, we have used our decades of expertise in ranking and comparing places to create a risk assessment scoring model.  In our model, we’ve normalized the data across the categories and show how each metric can be assigned a level of importance.  We’re making this model available to any group to aid in their work to combat the Coronavirus. Send your request for the scoring model to “crat@bestplaces.net” with “Scoring Model” in the subject, and include the name of your organization.

Send your thoughts and comments to crat@bestplaces.net.  Perhaps there is additional information you’d like to see added to the data set, or you have suggestions on its use.  We’d like to hear from you.

 

Sources

  • Hospitals and hospital beds – from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services financial cost reports for hospitals.  Psychiatric and children’s hospitals were not included in our analysis.  Veterans hospitals do not file Medicare cost reports and were not included.
  • ICU beds – compiled from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services financial cost reports by Kaiser Health News, reported at the county level.
  • Population, Age 65+, Age 80+, population density – from the American Community Survey (Census Bureau) 2018-2014 5-year estimates, released December 2019.
  • Percent diabetic – CDC Diabetes Atlas, Diagnosed Diabetes; Adults Aged 20+ Years; Age-Adjusted Percentage; U.S. Counties
  • % Fair or Poor Health - percentage of adults that report fair or poor health, CDC Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System
  • % Adults with obesity - percentage of adults that report BMI >= 30, CDC Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System
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