Data Researcher Matthew Holloway on tracking the pandemic and its status in SW Missouri

Transcription is edited for clarity, and is of the 4-minute spot.

Click this link to be forwarded to Matthew’s COVID-19 Update website where you can view his mega sheet, view his sources and donate towards his work.

You can follow him on Twitter @_mattyflex

FRED FLETCHER-FIERRO (HOST) : It’s Morning Edition on KRPS; I’m Fred Fletcher-Fierro. I’m joined this morning by Data Researcher Mathew Holloway, he has tracked the COVID-19 pandemic in Missouri and posts daily updates on his Facebook page, both with numbers, data and analysis. Good morning Mathew, thank you for some of your time.

Radio edited spot
Longer edited, web interview

MATTHEW HOLLOWAY (GUEST) : Thank you for having me. 

FRED : To start, simply ask when did you start tracking the pandemic in Missouri. Were just following the numbers or was there something that told you to pay closer attention to this?

Photo by CDC on Pexels.com

MATHEW : So initially the data that was released by the state that was on their website, there were two Excel columns basically one had county names, and the other had a number of cases. And visually that didn’t help me in any way, shape or form. To visualize where the initial cases were occurring. So I started visualizing that and I had the county visual that I used for quite some time. It was interesting at that time, you could really see it go up and down the interstates. It was really helpful, at that time before the station provided anything additional.

FRED : One of the reasons that I wanted to reach out to you, it seems locally, Southwest Missouri , especially Joplin, the numbers have improved over the weeks. Every time I would go to a press briefing they would have fewer people both as a COVID patient and few reported COVID deaths. So I’m apprehensive to say that we’re moving in the right direction, but does that look like it for you?

MATTHEW : So statistically, just last night I was comparing the surg in cases that we had in December and January and where we’re at right now. And what I learned was that from the peak of the hospitalization admissions back in December and January. It took us about 42 days to cut number in half when things started tapering off a little bit. What we’re seeing right now, were 52 days in since the peak of this surge and we’re still not quite to cutting that number in half across the state.

So I think what a lot of areas are experiencing at the moment is just a slower decline in the number of cases and hospitalizations. This Delta variant outbreak has been interesting because it’s happening regionally. Early on we had a couple of counties in North Central Missouri that had initially reported that they detected the Delta variant and then that kind of moved in Southwest Missouri where it really exploded. And then it kind of moved up towards Springfield, into Central Missouri a little bit and now I think that Southeast Missouri is experiencing the highest surge in the case at the moment.

So, it’s kind of been broken out and Southeast Missouri is far less populated and has far fewer population cities than other areas in Missouri. The numbers that we’re seeing as they decline and a good indication of areas like Southwestern Missouri, like some of those counties in Northcentral Missouri, they’re improving, but it’s certainly still something that I think some of the areas that are just starting to see some of the surges.

I feel like we’ve been entrenched in this battle for months and months now. But there are areas in Missouri that are just now starting to experience the peak and surges themselves.

FRED : Mathew Holloway is a Data Researcher who resides in Southwest Missouri. Thank you for doing this important work and for your time this morning.

MATTHEW : Absolutely, thank you so much.

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