Vulnerability, Inequity, and COVID-19: A Portrait of the Pandemic in Allegheny County

Tracking Evolving Disparities in Testing, Cases, Hospitalizations, Deaths, and the Ability to Practice Physical Distancing

by Evan D. Peet, Linnea Warren May, Jordan R. Fischbach, Christine Campigotto, Tichakunda Mangono, Colleen M. McCullough, Tiffany L. Gary-Webb, Robert Gradeck, Jared Kohler, Maria Gardner, et al.

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Although the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has touched every community in the United States, certain geographic areas and populations have been affected more than others. To examine vulnerability to COVID-19 and the pandemic's impacts within a specific community, the RAND Corporation, the Black Equity Coalition, and Surgo Ventures partnered to consider disparities in Allegheny County in southwest Pennsylvania. Allegheny County, which is home to the city of Pittsburgh, is representative of many of the challenges faced throughout the country in combating COVID-19.

The research team created an interactive online tool to show how testing, cases, and deaths have been distributed across neighborhoods and populations. (The tool was revised in July 2021 to include data on the number of COVID-19 tests conducted over time.) Measures of physical distancing allow users of the tool to explore potential drivers of the spread of COVID-19. The results of these analyses describe lessons learned and aim to inform individual and policymaker efforts to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, prior to comprehensive community vaccination. Findings related to testing access may also help inform the equitable distribution of and access to vaccines.

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Table of Contents

  • Appendix A

    Introduction, Methods, and How to Use the Tool

  • Appendix B

    Data Sources

  • Appendix C

    GISCorps Testing Data Variables

Research conducted by

This research was funded by Mala Gaonkar and Surgo Foundation UK Limited, a separate legal entity to Surgo Ventures. The research was jointly conducted by the Community Health and Environmental Policy Program in RAND Social and Economic Well-Being, the Black Equity Coalition, and Surgo Ventures.

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