COVID-19 fatality rate continues to drop in Florida

BY JENNIFER CABRERA

This is an update of the information in our previous articles on this topic. The graph above shows that even with the deaths through August 25 added to the data, the death rate for people who tested positive for COVID in June or July was much lower than it was in April.

There has been a great deal of concern about rising numbers of COVID-19 cases in Florida, but the real question is whether these cases translate into correspondingly large numbers of deaths; as we’ll show below, this is unlikely because people who get sick now are far less likely to suffer adverse consequences than they were in April or May.

We used Florida’s case line data (August 25 update), which does not exaggerate the number of cases because it includes one line per person. It also shows whether or not that person was hospitalized or passed away (but not the date of either). Using this data allows a comparison of cases to deaths without worrying about a specific lag time for the disease process. The graphs include the entire state instead of Alachua County because the county didn’t have enough COVID-19 deaths over that period to make the data meaningful.

The graphs below show the percentage of daily cases that later died, regardless of death date (i.e., the graph shows the percentage of people who tested positive on each date who later died). The overall rate has dropped dramatically since the start of May. The 65+ rate has been dropping since mid-April and started dropping even faster after May 27. Note that these graphs stop with people who tested positive on July 27, allowing 20 days the cases to resolve. (We’ve found it takes about 20 days for most of the deaths on a given day to get into the system.)

This table shows how the overall average COVID-19 death rate for Florida residents has dropped by 70%, from 6.55% in April to 2.01% in June; the death rate for those over 65 has dropped by 40%, from 21.06% to 12.74%; and the death rate for people under 65 has dropped by 61%, from 1.32% to 0.51%.

All65+<65
Apr6.55%21.06%1.32%
May5.38%19.63%0.90%
June2.01%12.74%0.51%
July1.53%9.40%0.33%

The following graphs show how the case fatality rate has changed since the beginning of April for all cases, for people over 65, and for people under 65.

Below is a graph of the case fatality rate by age in Florida and Alachua County followed by the same graph broken out by month (Florida only) to demonstrate the decreasing fatality rate.