COVID Atlas • Re: What does the Pandemic Severity Index tell me on the Atlas?

The county-level pandemic severity index uses PREDICTED new and total death counts over the next 5 days (the prediction algorithm description can be found in our preprint paper at

It is designed to balance the overall toll COVID-19 has taken on a county over the entire course of the pandemic (via percentiles of total deaths) and the current situation facing the county today (via percentiles of predicted new deaths over the next 5 days).

Equal weight is given to each measure by taking the mean of the total deaths percentiles and the 5-day predicted new deaths percentiles over all counties’ predicted values. This percentile mean is then divided equally into three levels: low, medium, and high.

Thus, the pandemic severity index tells us both about how badly affected a county has been on the whole relative to other US counties, and about how difficult the situation is right now relative to other counties.

Note that we also developed a hospital-level pandemic severity index which uses a similar method but first allocates predicted / cumulative deaths to hospitals proportionally based on the number of employees each hospital has. You can learn more at

Statistics: Posted by — Mon Aug 17, 2020 12:17 pm