Florida COVID-19 Update for African Americans: November 9, 2020

by Dr. Algernon Austin, Senior Researcher, Thurgood Marshall Institute

At this time, Florida has the 34th highest COVID-19 death rate, and the 35th highest coronavirus-case rate among U.S. states. Four of the top ten COVID-19 deaths hot spots in Florida are in counties where African Americans make up a larger share of the population than their statewide average.

Florida’s Covid Exit Strategy rating: Uncontrolled spread.

As of November 9, 2020, Florida had the 35th highest number of new coronavirus cases per 100,000 over the last seven days of any state in the United States. It had the 34th highest number of COVID-19 deaths per 100,000 over the same period.[1]

After a steep downward trend in cases from July to early October, the 7-day average number of new coronavirus cases in Florida has been rising again (Figure 1). Unfortunately, the growth rate of new cases appears to be accelerating. In contrast, the 7-day average number of new COVID-19 deaths has been generally trending sharply downward since mid-October (Figure 2).

Using data collected on November 8, 2020 by the COVID Tracking Project, the Thurgood Marshall Institute (TMI) compared the share of Black people in Florida to the share of Black people among Florida’s coronavirus cases and COVID-19 deaths. There are no significant disparities in cases or deaths in the state.

Black people in Florida should still be highly vigilant about COVID-19. Four of the top ten hot spots for coronavirus cases and four of the top ten hot spots for COVID-19 deaths are in counties that are disproportionately African American (Table).

The Florida Department of Health calls on residents to follow COVID-19 public health guidelines which include maintaining a six foot physical distance from others in public, wearing face masks when not at home, cleaning and disinfecting “high touch” surfaces, and getting tested if you think you have been exposed to COVID-19.[2] The Department of Health is also urging all Floridians to get a flu shot. Reducing the number of patients with influenza will allow the healthcare system to better focus its resources on COVID-19 patients.

Additional Resources

Florida COVID-19 Response: https://floridahealthcovid19.gov/

Covid Exit Strategy: https://www.covidexitstrategy.org/

Answers to frequently asked questions about the new coronavirus by the New York Times: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/world/coronavirus-tips-advice.html

[1] Coronavirus in the U.S.: Latest map and case count, N.Y. Times (Nov. 10, 2020), https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/us/coronavirus-us-cases.html.

[2] How do I prevent and prepare for COVID-19? Fla. COVID-19 Response (last visited Oct. 29, 2020), https://floridahealthcovid19.gov/prevention/.