Florida’s coronavirus cases are growing slower than other states

by | Mar 24, 2020

With more than 21.6 million residents, Florida is the third most populous state in the nation, but based on available data, coronavirus cases in the Sunshine State aren’t growing nearly as fast as the cases in other states, nor are they growing at a steady exponential rate. Last night, the Florida Department of Health posted the latest update: just 220 new cases, 24 fewer than the day before.

If Florida’s coronavirus cases are growing at a steady exponential rate, we should have reported at least 310 new cases yesterday. That didn’t happen. In fact, we’ve missed projected growth rates in each of the past five days since The Capitolist first projected a terrifying 15,000 expected cases in Florida by March 30th. Since then, the state has consistently fallen short of the expected exponential growth rate – with yesterday’s backward step one of the most welcome missed projections we’ve ever made.

Here’s a look at Florida’s cases plotted against the initial exponential growth projection made on March 18th. Despite yesterday’s big drop, if we are really seeing steady exponential growth, we should get at least 340 new cases tomorrow by 6pm:

There are currently six other states with more coronavirus cases than Florida, but only one of them, California, has a larger population. The rest, New York, New Jersey, Michigan, Illinois and Washington, all have fewer residents. A seventh state, Louisiana, trails Florida by just 50 cases, despite having only a quarter of our population.

So what’s going on here? Are we doing something right? Or is Florida just lagging a bit behind before we, too, experience a massive explosion in cases?

Several potential factors might be contributing to Florida’s lower-than-expected number of coronavirus cases: a warmer climate, cities with significantly lower population density than New York City, or maybe Florida residents are just better at “social distancing” than other states.

While some have decried the numbers of available coronavirus tests, those concerns are easily dismissed by the fact that more than 90% of all tests being administered are coming back negative. We’ve tested 13,965 people so far. We’re still waiting on the results of 1,101 tests. But we’ve gotten the results back for 12,864 people, and 11,637 of those people tested negative for the virus. If the problem is related to a shortage of tests, then we’re wasting an awful lot of them on the wrong people.

We’ll get an early read on the situation when we get a new data dump this morning at 11am, and the full picture at 6pm.  Stay tuned.


  1. MARY Widom

    I believe the numbers r less due to the warmer temperature and humidity. I thought I read somewhere that heat and humidity help kill the virus

  2. Donna G

    As a Floridian, the sunshine has definitely helped, a lot of homes have their own chlorinated swimming pools and sitting out in the sunshine for Vitamin D is important. I also believe Floridians distance themselves from tourist and this is helping as well. But keeping the New Yorkers from coming here is a must at this time!!!

  3. Matt

    The warmer climate theory remains just that. Louisiana should have similar results, and we should not see the spread we are seeing in the southern hemisphere where it is summer. It may end up have seasonal ebb and flow, but the idea that regular outdoor temps kill the virus has been debunked many times already.

  4. Valerie J

    Donna G. I agree. We need sunshine and fresh air. Being cooped up all day every day is not good for you. I’m glad Gov. De Santis said he wasn’t going to put the state in lockdown, it would only depress people and make them more vulnerable. Just stay at home if you don’t absolutely need to go shopping and sit outdoors in your yard and read a good book or watch something on your tablet or phone. Go for a walk. Just practice good hygiene and keep your distance from others.😎

  5. Anonymous

    I heard the other day that people from New York and New Jersey are heading to Florida. You better hope they don’t bring the virus with them!

  6. Nurse

    In our area you are refused testing unless you have Every symptom and being exposed to someone with positive testing or travelled etc …. no one can even get tested basically , not even the medical people

  7. Brigitte Wetjen

    Every one should stay in there own State at this time. Should not make Travel plans. Our Beaches are closed. And so is everything else.

  8. Martha Collins

    That was my thoughts exactly. I remember reading something about higher heat and humidity killing the virus.

  9. Prk

    No growth – that’s because test results are not coming back from labs – I am waiting 10 days – Cleveland Clinic Martin County

  10. Stefanie

    Same, my family has symptoms. Low to 103 fevers, dry cough, wheezing lungs, my lungs have a constant tickling sensation and feel tight. Negative for flu and strep. No covid19 test. These are false numbers. I’d like to see the economic demographics of those tested.

  11. CP

    No one can take into account people who won’t get tested or those who don’t have symptoms. The point is, the consistent measure is those who have gotten tested and received results. So this study is more accurate than an opinion because you feel sick.

    Get tested if you feel sick! Keep in mind less than 10% tested have it.

  12. Max Fox

    Still presenting your false data, eh, Brian? How many people will get sick today Brian, because they read your lies?

  13. bill

    infected new yorkers coming here like zombies.

  14. Cindy

    I feel these are fake numbers because our CDC is not allowing us to test the patients

  15. Cindy

    I work in a hospital and the Infection control is not allowing us to test the numbers cannot be accurate the out of staters and or snow birds keep flying and driving back to our state some are even flying and sick we need a strict travel ban

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