Severity Score Derivation

Severity Score Derivation

Explanation of steps involved, thought process, and research behind the COVID-19 Severity score to compare between States and Counties.

When I made my U.S. Severity Dashboard for COVID-19, I was asked by several people:

“How did you come up with the Severity score Calculation for your COVID-19 Dashboard?”

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I explained that it was quite an interesting process, with many attempts. After speaking to one of my close LinkedIn connections, I realized that the process I went through might make for an interesting article. Thus, here we are.

There are many different ways to solve problems; mathematical laws, derived mathematical equations, or helpful representations of information. For instance, a FICO credit score is a helpful and meaningful representation of someone’s ability to pay back credit. Is it a law? No. Neither is a Quarterback Score for the NFL. Many indexes that we rely on as indicators, like the Dow Jones, are not proven scientific facts, but rather a concise way to represent data in a meaningful format.

Eric Temple Bell, creator of the Bell Series, stated:

“Abstractness, sometimes hurled as a reproach at mathematics, is its chief glory and its surest title to practical usefulness. It is also the source of such beauty as may spring from Mathematics”

In other words, sometimes abstract thinking can lead to practicality.

Initial Data Collected:

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Building blocks available to build Severity Score Equation

COVID Dashboards were popping up all over the internet. One commonality was that there was a lack of clarity over where the virus was hitting the hardest. Did “Severity” have to do with deaths or infections? Assuming that people in cities like New York City have more contact with others than people in rural areas of the country, should the population play a role in determining how severe the virus is?

Then it hit me…

“What if I could come up with a way to represent the Severity of the virus in each county of the United States so that a person could easily tell where the virus was impacting health the most?”

I pondered this idea and decided to research what the epidemiologists have determined.

pandemic data-science severityscore tableau covid19

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