As much as I criticize its political coverage, the NY Times has been doing an excellent job of covering the COVID-19 crisis. For instance, this morning’s paper has an analysis, including detailed maps, with “new estimates [that] provide a rough gauge of the risk that students and educators could encounter at school in each county in the United States.” According to the article:
The estimates, from researchers at the University of Texas at Austin, range from sobering to surprisingly reassuring, depending on the area and the size of the school.
Based on current infection rates, more than 80 percent of Americans live in a county where at least one infected person would be expected to show up to a school of 500 students and staff in the first week, if school started today.
…At the same time, smaller, isolated groups of students face a much lower risk.
Now, obviously the odds change based on how large the school is. For instance, the following two maps of Virginia show schools of 1,000 and schools of 500. A few takeaways include:
- For the 1,000-sized schools, the highest number of students showing up at a school in the first week, infected with COVID-19, range as high as 17 in Portsmouth, 15 in Sussex County, 13 in Patrick County, 12 in Buena Vista, 11 in Virginia Beach, 11 in Suffolk City, 11 in Franklin City, 10 in Chesapeake, 10 in Emporia City, 9 in Prince Edward County, 9 in Greene County, 9 in Greensville County, 8 in Charlottesville, 7 in Newport News, 7 in Hampton, 7 in Southampton County, 7 in Brunswick County, 7 in Fredericksburg, 6 in Manassas City, 6 in Petersburg, etc.
- Also for the 1,000-sized schools, the *lowest* number of students showing up at a school in the first week, infected with COVID-19, include ZERO in Highland County, ZERO in Floyd County, ZERO in Bland County, ZERO in Charles City County, 1 in Louisa County, 1 in Goochland County, 1 in Essex County, 1 in Westmoreland County, etc.
- Again, for 1,000-sized schools, some other big school districts would see 2 students showing up at a school in the first week, infected with COVID-19, in Fairfax County; 2 in Arlington County; 2 in Fauquier County; 3 in Loudoun County; 4 in Prince William County; 4 in Albemarle County; 4 in Chesterfield County; 4 in Richmond City; 5 in Henrico County; 5 in Alexandria; etc.
- For 500-sized schools, the number of students showing up at a school in the first week, infected with COVID-19, is obviously lower than the 1,000-sized schools. For instance, Sussex County is at 8; Patrick County is at 7; Prince Edward County is at 5 Virginia Beach, Chesapeake, Danville and Suffolk are at 5; and a lot of districts are at 1 (Arlington, Fairfax County, Loudoun, Fauquier, Stafford), 2 (Richmond City, Chesterfield, Albemarle, Pittsylvania, Rockbridge, Amherst, Spotsylvania) or 3 (Hampton, Alexandria, Henrico).
- For 100-sized schools, the number of students showing up at a school in the first week, infected with COVID-19, is generally zero.
- What else jumps out at you from these maps?
P.S. I’m not sure exactly how these estimates gibe with the recent numbers from the Falls Church schools’ summer daycare program, which – in just two weeks – “sent five children home because they either arrived with a fever or developed one during the day.”