Special Report

This is the City in Florida Where COVID-19 is Growing the Fastest

The U.S. has reported more than 49.9 million confirmed COVID-19 cases as of December 16. There have been more than 794,000 reported deaths from COVID-19-related causes — the highest death toll of any country.

The extent of the spread of the novel coronavirus continues to vary considerably from state to state, and from city to city. Even as the number of daily new cases is flattening or even declining in some parts of the country, it is surging at a growing rate in others.

Nationwide, the number of new cases is growing at a steady rate. There were an average of 35.6 daily new coronavirus cases per 100,000 Americans in the week ending December 16, essentially unchanged from the week prior, when there were an average of 33.2 daily new coronavirus cases per 100,000 people.

In Florida, there were an average of 9.1 daily new coronavirus cases per 100,000 residents in the week ending December 16 — the third fewest of all 50 states. Florida’s most recent case growth is essentially unchanged from the week prior, when there were an average of 7.9 daily new cases per 100,000 residents.

Metropolitan areas with a high degree of mobility and a large population may be particularly vulnerable to outbreaks. While science and medical professionals are still studying how exactly the virus spreads, experts agree that outbreaks are more likely to occur in group settings where large numbers of people routinely have close contact with one another. Cities with high concentrations of dense spaces such as colleges, correctional facilities, and nursing homes are particularly at risk.

In the Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach metropolitan area, there were an average of 9.3 daily new coronavirus cases per 100,000 residents in the week ending December 16 — the fastest case growth of any city in Florida. The metro area’s most recent case growth rate is basically unchanged from the week prior, when there were an average of 11.8 daily new cases per 100,000 residents.

Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, the city where COVID-19 is growing the second fastest, has reported an average of 8.2 new daily cases per 100,000 residents.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, the Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach metropolitan area has reported a cumulative total of 1,288,696 confirmed cases, or 21,158.6 per 100,000 residents. By comparison, there are currently 17,340.2 cases per 100,000 Florida residents and 15,221.2 cases per 100,000 Americans nationwide.

In order to slow the spread, cities have ordered the closure of thousands of consumer-facing businesses. These measures have led to widespread job loss and record unemployment. In Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach, unemployment peaked at 13.8% in April 2020. As of May 2021, the unemployment rate was 6.1%.

To determine the metropolitan area in each state where COVID-19 is growing the fastest, 24/7 Wall St. compiled and reviewed data from state and local health departments. We ranked metropolitan areas according to the average number of new daily COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents in the seven days ending December 16. Data was aggregated from the county level to the metropolitan area level using boundary definitions from the U.S. Census Bureau. Population data used to adjust case and death totals came from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2019 American Community Survey and are five-year estimates. Unemployment data is from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and is seasonally adjusted.

These are all the counties in Florida where COVID-19 is slowing (and where it’s still getting worse).

MSA Population New daily cases per 100,000, week ending Dec. 16 New daily cases per 100,000, week ending Dec. 9 Cumulative cases per 100,000 Cumulative deaths per 100,000
Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach, FL 6,090,660 9.3 11.8 21,158.6 303.4
Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, FL 2,508,970 8.2 11.4 17,076.4 212.8
Deltona-Daytona Beach-Ormond Beach, FL 646,288 8.1 11.3 14,434.9 294.5
Punta Gorda, FL 181,067 7.6 9.5 13,242.1 371.1
Cape Coral-Fort Myers, FL 737,468 7.2 9.6 17,538.8 251.8
Naples-Marco Island, FL 371,453 7.1 11.1 15,946.6 236.4
North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton, FL 803,709 6.9 10.6 15,521.3 318.4
Lakeland-Winter Haven, FL 686,218 6.9 10.0 19,096.1 367.7
Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL 3,097,859 6.7 9.4 16,027.4 271.7
Gainesville, FL 323,799 6.3 9.2 15,732.6 222.1
Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville, FL 585,507 5.9 9.3 14,155.4 303.5
Sebring-Avon Park, FL 103,437 5.9 4.8 15,716.8 543.3
Crestview-Fort Walton Beach-Destin, FL 272,056 5.8 6.8 17,716.2 276.0
Homosassa Springs, FL 145,169 5.5 13.7 14,391.5 576.6
Sebastian-Vero Beach, FL 153,989 5.5 6.3 14,617.9 370.2
Ocala, FL 353,526 5.3 8.4 16,340.0 505.5
Tallahassee, FL 382,197 5.3 7.3 18,329.0 216.9
The Villages, FL 125,044 5.3 9.1 11,975.0 379.9
Jacksonville, FL 1,503,574 5.2 7.3 17,669.5 294.4
Pensacola-Ferry Pass-Brent, FL 488,246 5.2 6.4 18,642.9 333.2
Port St. Lucie, FL 472,012 5.0 6.2 14,674.2 331.3
Panama City, FL 182,161 3.7 5.2 18,052.7 384.3

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