Does Florida Really Have the Lowest COVID-19 Deaths per Capita?

While Florida has the lowest COVID-19 cases based on data gathered from the last week, it still ranks high in terms of COVID-19 deaths.

Jennifer Farrington - Author

Dec. 3 2021, Published 10:34 a.m. ET

Homes in Florida
Source: Getty

Florida was once viewed as a hotspot or “breeding ground” for the COVID-19 virus. At one point during the pandemic, the state had the highest number of COVID-19 cases and deaths. Despite the pushback Florida has been giving toward COVID-19 vaccine mandates and mask requirements, it's now being rumored that the state has the lowest COVID-19-related deaths per capita.

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Is it true? Could the Sunshine State be measuring up with the other states that have low COVID-19 death rates per capita? We’re doing a fact check to find out.

Florida has the lowest COVID-19 death rates per capita: True or false?

Does florida have the lowest covid deaths per capita (fact check)
Source: Getty

According to The New York Times’ COVID-19 case tracker, Florida has certainly dropped in rank in terms of the state with the highest COVID-19 cases per capita within the last week. The state had a case count of six per 100,000 people as of Dec. 1 alongside Alabama and Hawaii.

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Although Florida ranks well in terms of COVID-19 cases per capita over the last seven days, the average daily death rate per 100,000 people is still 50.1, which is just under Pennsylvania with 60 and Ohio with 56.7. We should also point out that more than half of Florida’s population is vaccinated.

The states with the lowest COVID-19 deaths per capita over the last seven days are Alaska (1.6), Delaware (2.1), Vermont (0.9), and Nebraska (1.4). While Florida has relinquished its position as a hotspot for the COVID-19 virus for now, it remains a state with one of the highest COVID-19 death tolls.

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According to data provided on behalf of the CDC, Florida’s COVID-19 death toll stands at 61,539. The figure represents the number of deaths that were recorded between January 21, 2020, and December 1, 2021. Over that same period, the following states were also identified as those with the highest COVID-19 death count:

  • California - 73,712 or 186 per 100,000
  • Texas - 72,607 or 250 per 100,000
  • Pennsylvania - 33,421 or 261 per 100,000
  • Georgia - 30,510 or 286 per 100,000
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Biostatisticians suggest the Florida’s low case count doesn't reflect the “effectiveness of no-mandate policies.”

Although Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has been adamant about blocking COVID-19 vaccine and mask mandates, biostatisticians aren’t linking those choices with the state’s low case count. Newsweek reported the source spoke with biostatisticians who said “It’s not appropriate to evaluate success in controlling the epidemic by looking at one snapshot in time.”

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Biostatisticians also said that Florida’s low case rate “should not be used to vindicate the effectiveness of no-mandate policies.”

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Source: Twitter

How many COVID-19 cases are being reported daily in the U.S.?

As of Dec. 1, The New York Times’ COVID-19 case count tracker revealed that the U.S. is averaging about 86,565 COVID-19 cases per day. The average number of people hospitalized in the U.S. is 55,893 and there are roughly 947 deaths recorded daily.

While the number of COVID-19 cases and deaths has declined since the beginning of the pandemic, health experts are concerned that the omicron variant of the COVID-19 virus could pose a threat to the progress the U.S. has made so far.


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