COVID-19 Continues to Have a Disparate Impact on Hispanic and
Non-Hispanic Blacks in Florida
Early Racial/Ethnic Disparities Persist in 8/9 Florida Counties Examined
(Miami, Florida) – Florida Health Justice Project's latest COVID-19 Disparities Dashboard, shows that significant racial and ethnic disparities persist.
The updated COVID-19 Disparities Dashboard, uses data from the Florida Department of Health’s county-level COVID-19 report to show outcomes by race/ethnicity and age for the state, as well as nine counties of interest. Unemployment data trends are presented to show the interplay between COVID-19, employment status, and racial and ethnic disparities in health outcomes.
“Despite the tremendous progress in COVID-19 treatments, there is still much work to be done in addressing the racial/ethnic disparities that have emerged in COVID-19 and have long been present in other health outcomes,” said Dr. Samuels-Staple, FHJP Health Policy Research Specialist. “The availability of data stratified by racial/ethnic groups has proven to be crucial as we continue to
monitor and address disparities among our communities of color.”
Key findings include:
• While non-Hispanic Whites constitute 53% of the state population, they
account for just 27% of the state’s total COVID-19 cases, 41% of
hospitalizations, and 47% of deaths.
• In Duval County, NH Blacks make up 31% of the population yet they
account for 43% of COVID-19 hospitalizations. In Leon County, NH
Blacks make up 32% of the population while accounting for 45% of
• While Hispanics comprise 31% of the Broward County population, they
account for 40% of the county’s COVID-19 cases.
•Statewide, 19% of cases reported, and 25% of cases in Miami-Dade County, are of unknown race, significantly hampering a complete understanding of racial disparities.
Outcomes and disparities vary widely by county. This is likely due to a
confluence of factors, such as the demographic and socio-economic makeup of
the county (e.g., age distribution, poverty rate, rates of insurance coverage or
lack thereof, among others).
While there are some limitations in the dashboard, including data by age within
racial/ethnic groups and the presence of unknown race data, the dashboard
illustrates the continued need for data broken down by racial/ethnic groups.
Research has shown that Blacks and Hispanics are least likely to self-report their
race/ethnicity (Source: Dembosky, Jacob W et al., 2019). Given the relatively
high proportion of data designated as “Unknown” race, it is important to note that
the observed COVID-19 disparities may be underestimated and as such, may not
give a true reflection of the state of COVID-19 disparities in Florida and the
In an earlier period of the pandemic, the racial/ethnic disparities in COVID-19
outcomes were presented and discussed within a report by Florida Health Justice
Project, “The State of COVID-19 in Florida and South Florida: An Early Look at
Disparities in Outcomes,” May 2020. The COVID-19 dashboard illuminates the
fact that racial/ethnic disparities have persisted long after first reported.
About the Florida Health Justice Project
The Florida Health Justice Project (FHJP) seeks to improve access to affordable
health care for Floridians, with a focus on vulnerable low-income populations.
FHJP expands the advocacy community’s capacity to resolve individual access
issues and educate consumers; identify and address systemic barriers to
healthcare; and protect Medicaid and other safety-net programs. FHJP promotes
health equity for vulnerable Floridians through advocacy, storytelling, outreach,
education and technical assistance and support.