As of July 16, 2020, the United States confirmed over 3.5 million cases of COVID-19 resulting in at least 138,000 deaths. The public health response in the U.S. is trailing many developing countries and the bulk of the burden is left to state and local public health systems. Funding and support for local public health departments has been decreasing for decades resulting in public health department quality and capacity variation across the country. A study by the Systems for Action Intramural Research Team seeks to find associations between public health system capabilities and COVID-19 death rates at the county level. Using the National Longitudinal Survey of Public Health Systems, the research team developed a public health system composite score that measures public health participation in CDC recommended public health activities and the degree of network participation between other community organizations. They performed a two-part analysis to account for the higher than expected number of counties with zero COVID-19 deaths along with a log-linked GLM model for counties with at least one COVID-19 death, controlling for county characteristics.
- Deena Brosi, MPH, Colorado School of Public Health at CU Anschutz