This visual originally stems from a Harvard-led (Wu et al. 2020), investigating the relationship between exposure to PM. 2.5 and COVID-19 mortality in the US. After the onset of the pandemic in spring, St. John Parish, Louisiana saw one of the COVID-19 highest death rates in the country (Kasakove 2020); in August, the Louisiana Department of Health reported 1,1442 cases and 92 deaths.
Kimberly Terrell, Outreach Director at the Tulane Environmental Law Clinic, further analyzed the data on request of the environmental justice group Concerned Citizens of St. John. Terrell particularly looked into the significance of underlying conditions. In her final report, Terrell notes low diabetes and high obesity rates. However, she emphasizes that the number of COVID-19 deaths in St. John is much higher than in parishes with similar obesity rates (Terrell 2020).
The visual was altered by Terell, adding geographic information (location of the Parish) and adjusted transparency to identify air pollution "hotspots" for fenceline communities along the river.