When the COVID-19 pandemic hit in March, University of Michigan data scientists immediately responded to the call to mobilize and carried out research projects swiftly to address the medical, epidemiological and social challenges. With funding support from MIDAS, Dr. Jon Zelner, faculty member of Epidemiology and MIDAS, together with his collaborators examined high-resolution spatial data of COVID-19 cases and mortality, and found that race and socioeconomic status played a significant role in different exposure rates to the virus. This was a major cause of the enormous disparities in COVID-19 mortality that have fallen along clear lines of race and class in Michigan. See the New York Times story and their publication for more information.
Their work has guided decision-making and policy at the state level through presentation to the Lt. Governor’s task force on racial inequality in COVID-19 outcomes. The team has also presented this work to CDC collaborators. To see their work and updated data, please visit covidmapping.org. These maps have been embedded in the daily COVID-19 update on mlive.com, providing useful information statewide.
Jon Zelner, PhD, Assistant Professor, Dept. of Epidemiology, UM School of Public Health