Business Law 101 / Coronavirus Statistical Benchmark in Monroe County-an update

By Albert L. Kelley, Esq.

This is not a political article; it is a numeric article.  As followers of this column know, I have kept a statistical eye on the coronavirus.  While in the past I have looked at the virus on a global, national, and state level, today I want to bring the numbers closer to home and focus on Monroe County.  As we head into season, the trends have not taken a favorable turn.

On August 10, 2020, I wrote an article about the statistical benchmarks of Coronavirus. At the time, Monroe County had just passed the mark where one out of every 50 residents had been stricken with Coronavirus.  For those who like to think in percentages, this was 2% of the population.  The number of people who had caught covid was as of August 8 was 1,488.  This was still better than the State’s statistics where one out of every 41 people had been confirmed (2.4%).  As with everyone else, I hoped this trend would reverse itself.  But that has not been the case.   This week we hit another milestone.  We passed 2,000 cases for residents only-not including tourists.  In Monroe County, as of October 19, one out of every 36.3 residents of Monroe County have caught Coronavirus.  For those who like percentages, that equals 2.7%.  If you want to think of it in terms of population, the total number of people is just under the entire population of Lake Placid, Florida.  It should be no surprise that the areas with larger populations have been hit hardest. In Key West, for example, one out of every 25.4 people have caught Covid (nearly 4%).

While the death toll from Coronavirus has slowed, it has not gone away.  When I wrote the article on August 10, less than one out of every 5,700 residents had died, as opposed to the statewide number of one out of every 2,606 people.  We have now had 25 deaths, which averages one out of every 2,969 residents.  We are still ahead of the state which has a death rate of one in every 1,335 people.

Now, these numbers are based on the Census Bureau’s estimate of population at 74,228, however the State’s Covid dashboard uses a population figure of 76,325.  This will make the percentages look better, but not by much.  Using the dashboard population, we are still seeing an overall infection rate of one in every 37.4 residents (2.6%) and a death rate of one out of every 3,053 residents.

The real concern is that the numbers seem to be headed in the wrong direction.  From September 25 through October 1, there were an average of only 4.7 new cases per day in Monroe County.  The following week that nearly doubled to 8 cases a day.  The following week that increased to 12.4 cases per day and this week we have already seen 77 cases, with three days to go.  If this trend continues, we will average 19 new cases per day.  The month of October has already recorded more cases than April, May and June combined. We have almost twice as many cases as in September.

This week we will see the first wave of tourist for the Un-Fantasy Fest. That will be followed by other high occupancy weeks through the end of the year.  With the increase in visitors, we can expect an increase in cases.

I believe it is important to keep track of these numbers, and to put them into perspective.  While the survival rate is still high (98%), the problem is we don’t know which patients will be the ones that don’t survive and for those that do, there are increasing stories of long-lasting physical problems. For that reason alone, it is important that we try to keep ourselves safe.

Al Kelley is a Florida business law attorney located in Key West and previously taught business law, personnel law and labor law at St. Leo University.  He is the author of four law books available through Absolutely Amazing e-Books and the host of “Basics Of The Law, a weekly YouTube channel. This article is being offered as a public service and is not intended to provide specific legal advice.  If you have any questions about legal issues, you should confer with a licensed Florida attorney.