Justice takes offense at claims state is manipulating COVID-19 risk maps

By Phil Kabler, Charleston Gazette-Mail

September 28, 2020

With the latest West Virginia version of the COVID-19 risk map looking markedly different from the original Harvard Global Health Institute map, Gov. Jim Justice took umbrage Monday to suggestions the state is manipulating the map to reopen public schools more quickly.

“I really probably would take terrible offense to someone who would say we are manipulating the numbers,” Justice said during Monday’s state COVID-19 briefing.

On Monday, West Virginia’s version of the map had no counties in red — denoting critically high spread of the virus — and only two counties in orange (Kanawha and Barbour), designating high spread.


Additionally, six counties were gold — a recent tweak by the state to break the orange risk category in two, with limited restrictions on counties falling into the new, lower designation — while 14 counties were yellow, and 33 counties were green, designating that spread of the virus is essentially contained.

By contrast, the Harvard Global map on Monday had two counties in red (Kanawha, Gilmer), 15 counties in orange (including Cabell, Wayne, Putnam, Boone and Fayette counties), 34 counties in yellow, and only four counties in green.