Analysis: Florida COVID-19 Cases Rising Faster than South Florida

SFGN file photo.

Broward, Miami-Dade, and Palm Beach Counties have higher daily averages of new COVID-19 cases than they did before the shutdown. While Broward and Miami Dade had begun to flatten their curves, Palm Beach County never came close to flattening its curve. Cases were rising as Palm Beach reopened. Despite some progress in May, Broward and Miami-Dade have now lost all gains from the shutdown.

The number of new cases of COVID-19 has been rising faster in Palm Beach County than in Broward. On April 1, Palm Beach County had 616 cumulative cases of COVID-19. Broward had 1,348. Between then and June 22, Palm Beach County has had 10,327 new cases, but Broward has had 9,979.

At first, the three South Florida counties had the most COVID-19 cases in Florida. That is no longer true. On April 5, the three South Florida counties had a combined total of 7,032 cases of COVID-19. The other 64 counties had a total of 5,318 COVID-19 cases. From April 5 to June 22, the three South Florida counties had a combined total of 41,477 new COVID-19 cases. The other 64 counties had 46,390 new cases of COVID-19.

Median Age

If all COVID-19 cases are sorted by age, 50% will lie below the median age and 50% above it. On April 10, Broward had a median age for cumulative COVID-19 of 50, Miami-Dade of 48, and Palm Beach of 58. On June 22, Broward had a median age for cumulative COVID-19 cases of 45, Miami-Dade of 47, and Palm Beach of 44. It dropped by five years in Broward, one year in Miami-Dade, but 14 years in Palm Beach. Miami-Dade has remained relatively constant. New cases in Broward and Palm Beach would have to be much younger to drive the median age down that much.

The racial composition of age groups differs. People in older age groups have a higher percentage of white people. People in younger age groups tend to have a higher percentage of people of color. If COVID-19 is spreading among younger people, more people of color will be acquiring the disease.

COVID-19 and race

When new COVID-19 cases are examined by racial groups in Broward, sharp disparities appear. Latinos have very high daily averages for new cases. Blacks also have high daily averages. Combined with the downward trend in median age, COVID-19 is spreading in Broward largely among younger Latinos and Blacks.

Caveats

This analysis is based on data from the Florida Dashboard and its county report. Both of those sources report cumulative data. They also report race and ethnicity separately. In order to calculate new cases and unduplicated data by racial group, SFGN had to collect and manipulate data in Excel. This could introduce some errors but is consistent with other reports. Due to the necessity to manipulate data, it was impossible to analyze unduplicated racial group data in Miami-Dade or Palm Beach Counties by press time.


To access the Florida COVID-19 dashboard, visit https://bit.ly/3d2lvuz.