Special Report

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

The U.S. has reported more than 23,000,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases as of Jan. 19. There have been more than 380,000 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 in others.

Nationwide, the number of new cases is growing at a steady rate. There were an average of 67.2 daily new coronavirus cases per 100,000 Americans in the week ending Jan. 19, essentially unchanged from the week prior, when there were an average of 72.1 daily new coronavirus cases per 100,000 people.

In Florida, there were an average of 64.6 daily new coronavirus cases per 100,000 residents in the week ending Jan. 19 — the 22nd most of all 50 states. Florida’s most recent case growth is a decrease from the week prior, when there were an average of 74.8 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 Pensacola-Ferry Pass-Brent metropolitan area, there were an average of 90.1 daily new coronavirus cases per 100,000 residents in the week ending Jan. 19 — the fastest case growth of any city in Florida. The metro area’s most recent case growth rate is a decrease from the week prior, when there were an average of 101 daily new cases per 100,000 residents.

Tallahassee, the city where COVID-19 is growing the second fastest, has reported an average of 78.5 new daily cases per 100,000 residents.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, the Pensacola-Ferry Pass-Brent metropolitan area has reported a cumulative total of 41,691 confirmed cases, or 8,650.20 per 100,000 residents. By comparison, there are currently 7,460.80 cases per 100,000 Florida residents and 7,278.10 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 Pensacola-Ferry Pass-Brent, unemployment peaked at 12.2% in April 2020. As of November 2020, the unemployment rate was 5.1%.

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 Jan. 19. 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 2018 American Community Survey and are five-year estimates. Unemployment data is from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and is seasonally adjusted.

MSA Population New daily cases per 100,000, week ending Jan. 19 New daily cases per 100,000, week ending Jan. 12 Cumulative cases per 100,000 Cumulative deaths per 100,000
Pensacola-Ferry Pass-Brent, FL 481,964 90.1 101 8,650.2 129.9
Tallahassee, FL 380,101 78.5 100.1 8,578.0 83.9
Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach, FL 6,070,944 75.7 84.4 10,001.3 142.8
Jacksonville, FL 1,475,386 75.1 101.8 7,854.1 90.2
Crestview-Fort Walton Beach-Destin, FL 266,595 70.7 77.9 7,935.6 121.2
Ocala, FL 348,371 69.8 79.2 6,436.8 158.7
Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, FL 2,450,261 67.4 77.1 6,818.3 77.5
Panama City, FL 182,482 66.9 74.9 7,811.2 139.7
Lakeland-Winter Haven, FL 668,671 66.9 78.9 6,899.8 133.8
Sebastian-Vero Beach, FL 150,984 64 83 5,894.0 129.8
Gainesville, FL 320,724 63.3 67.8 7,005.7 64.2
Cape Coral-Fort Myers, FL 718,679 58.7 66.9 6,787.2 101.6
Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL 3,030,047 56.5 64.9 6,094.8 105.2
Port St. Lucie, FL 463,172 54.2 61.8 5,816.8 148.3
Naples-Marco Island, FL 363,922 53.9 53.7 7,138.6 104.7
The Villages, FL 120,999 53.6 76.2 5,359.5 129.8
Deltona-Daytona Beach-Ormond Beach, FL 634,773 53.5 62.5 5,128.4 83.7
North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton, FL 785,997 52.4 68 6,254.7 130.3
Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville, FL 576,808 50.9 55 4,592.2 102.5
Sebring-Avon Park, FL 102,101 48.5 57.3 5,810.9 227.2
Homosassa Springs, FL 143,087 45.3 57.9 5,577.7 220.8
Punta Gorda, FL 176,954 44.1 60.7 5,119.4 153.1

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

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