Examining the Spatial and Spatio-temporal Heterogeneity in the COVID-19 Pandemic: Who you are, and where you live matters?

Seminar Series

Friday, April 30, 2021 - 12:00
Zoom Conference
Loni Philip Tabb, PhD

Abstract: The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted millions of lives both here in the United States and as well as globally. As of March 17, 2021, there were a total of 29,319,457 related cases across the US, with 533,057 associated deaths. With the first vaccine being distributed in the US in mid-December, to date, there have been over 111M vaccines distributed, in an effort to slow the continued spread of this virus. Unfortunately, there is well-documented evidence of the unequal toll of this pandemic on communities of color – where data shows that the risks for COVID-19 illness, hospitalization, and death differ by race and ethnicity. Our research focuses on examining the spatial and spatio-temporal heterogeneity in the COVID-19 pandemic, and how county level demographics are associated with this heterogeneity.

The objective of this study was to describe the spatial and spatio-temporal patterning of COVID-19 cases and deaths in the US up to the first vaccine being distributed in the US, and to estimate the associated racial/ethnic inequities. Descriptive statistics and choropleth maps were used to graphically display and measure the patterning of coronavirus cases and deaths across all counties. We fit spatially varying regression models, in a Bayesian statistical framework, to estimate potential racial/ethnic inequities in coronavirus cases and deaths – with an additional look at the impact of mask mandates and voting results of the 2020 Presidential election given thepoliticization of the pandemic. Our findings highlight the disproportionate burden of COVID-19 on communities of color. Given this evidence, local, state, and national policymakers can further identify which counties and populations will need additional access to resources that include, but are not limited to, treatment, education, and vaccine-related initiatives and resources.

Speaker: Loni Philip Tabb, PhD
Associate Professor of Biostatistics
Department of Epidemiology & Biostatistics
Drexel University - Dornsife School of Public Health

Bio: Dr. Loni Philip Tabb is an Associate Professor of Biostatistics in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at Drexel University’s Dornsife School of Public Health in Philadelphia, PA. She received her PhD in Biostatistics from Harvard University in 2010 where she developed novel statistical methods to address zero inflation in longitudinal count data – with applications to environmental health and health disparities research. More specifically, she developed a marginalized zero-altered Poisson model to map and measure premature mortality and the effect of census tract poverty in the greater Boston area. Upon completion of this doctoral training, she returned as a tenure-track faculty member to her undergraduate and graduate alma mater – she obtained her B.S. (2003) and M.S. (2005) in Mathematics from Drexel.

Since her arrival at Drexel University, she has collaborated as a Co-Investigator on several National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, Annie E. Casey Foundation, and Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center funded projects. These projects range from extending her doctoral work with zero inflation in genome sequencing data to her work on examining the spatial distribution of alcohol outlets in Philadelphia. In 2013, she was awarded as the Principal Investigator (PI) of a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation New Connections grant for Junior Investigators, entitled “Examining the impact on alcohol-related violence of increased liquor outlets under privatization of sales”.

Most recently, Dr. Tabb has used spatial statistics and spatial epidemiology methods in the area of cardiovascular disease, with a focus on assessing the spatial patterning of cardiovascular health here in the US between blacks and whites. She was awarded a K01 Career Development Award (2017) from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, entitled “Assessing the spatial heterogeneity in cardiovascular risk factors within and between blacks and whites”. As the PI of this grant, Dr. Tabb has mapped and measured the varying disparities locally in major cities as well as nationally, with hopes of providing this evidence to inform policy makers, health officials, and the communities affected in improving cardiovascular health in this country.

Dr. Tabb is an active member of several biostatistics and public health professional societies – including current co-chair of the Fostering Diversity in Biostatistics Workshop for the Eastern North American Region of the International Biometric Society Annual Spring Meetings.

Zoom: https://duke.zoom.us/j/91279619809?pwd=clhDdkZXK1lQaTdCbWgzL3EyT2ZZUT09

Passcode: 776604