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Mapping Alabama’s 3,000 coronavirus deaths – AL.com

The death toll in Alabama’s ongoing struggle with the coronavirus topped 3,000 on Wednesday, according to the Alabama Department of Public Health. Deaths have been reported in each of the state’s 67 counties, and new cases here are accelerating.

The state reports 3,006 coronavirus deaths as of Wednesday. More than half of the state’s deaths have come in just nine counties, and more than a third have come in four counties – Jefferson, Mobile, Montgomery and Tuscaloosa.

[Can’t see the map? Click here.]

Among the deaths in Alabama where data is available, 56 percent were among white people, and 38 percent were among Black people. The state is more than 69 percent white.

Nearly 77 percent of those who died were 65 years old or older, and the vast majority of people who died here had at least one underlying condition. Only 13 people have reportedly died of coronavirus in Alabama with no underlying condition.

Jefferson County, the most populous county in the state, has recorded the most coronavirus deaths. The Alabama Department of Public Health reports 390 people have died there. Mobile is the second most populous county and saw the second highest death toll at 324 – more than 100 more than the next closest county.

Just five counties have suffered at least 100 virus deaths. Tuscaloosa, where 145 people have died, is the least populous of those five counties. Montgomery recorded 211 deaths and Madison County reported 102.

Controlling for population reveals a different image of Alabama’s death toll. In a way, it also shows how far the state has come in treating the virus. Many of the counties with the highest death toll per 10,000 people suffered those deaths early in the pandemic, and have since seen their death numbers fall.

[Can’t see the map? Click here.]

Lowndes County, a small Black Belt county west of Montgomery, has the highest death count per 10,000 people at 29. But many of those deaths occurred earlier in the pandemic.

Several other rural counties in Alabama have similar situations. Tallapoosa County, to the northeast of Lowndes, had one of the state’s wort outbreaks early in the pandemic. No confirmed deaths have been reported there in the last 15 days.

Of the state’s 3006 deaths, 2,799 are considered confirmed deaths and 207 are listed as probable deaths. Confirmed deaths include laboratory confirmation of COVID-19, while probable deaths cover those with probable cases and those with no confirmed test but with COVID-19 or equivalent on their death certificate.

Because of the way deaths are reported, there is often a lag between when a death occurs and when it is officially declared a coronavirus death. Deaths from earlier in the pandemic are often added to the tally much later.

Alabama Department of Public Health has a page on its dashboard that shows deaths by date, but the data is incomplete. It takes weeks for deaths to show up there, and hundreds are missing. But according to that page, deaths in Alabama peaked in July and August.

Do you have an idea for a data story about Alabama? Email Ramsey Archibald at rarchibald@al.com, and follow him on Twitter @RamseyArchibald. Read more Alabama data stories here.

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