3 Oakland zip codes have worse COVID-19 case rates than Florida and Georgia

The hardest hit zip codes span Fruitvale and East Oakland
SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Three Oakland zip codes have rates of coronavirus infection higher than two of the hardest hit states in the country, Georgia and Florida, and nearly as bad as the U.S. epicenter of the pandemic, New York City.

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The three zip codes, 94601, 94621 and 94603, span Fruitvale and East Oakland. There are between 2,472 and 2,594 confirmed COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents in each zip code, as of Monday.

In Florida, the state with most coronavirus cases per capita, that number is slightly lower at 2,445 cases per 100,000 residents, according to the CDC. In Georgia, it's at 2,029. In Texas, another hard hit state, it's 1,678. All three are lower than the rate of infection seen in Fruitvale and East Oakland.

The New York City metro area, which was devastated by the coronavirus in March and April, has seen about 2,692 cases per 100,000 residents, according to the New York Times - a figure comparable to what we're seeing in Oakland.

An Oaklandside editor flagged the high case rate on Twitter last week. Since then, the situation in those three zip codes has only gotten worse.


San Francisco's COVID-19 data, which is broken up by neighborhood and not zip code, shows the Bayview Hunters Point neighborhood with a similarly high transmission rate. In other parts of the city, like the hard-hit Mission District, the case rate is about half of what it is in East Oakland.

In Santa Clara County's hardest hit zip codes, in South County and East San Jose, the case rate is substantially lower than Oakland's - between 600 and about 1,100 cases per 100,000 residents.

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It comes as no surprise that the Oakland neighborhoods most affected by the pandemic are predominantly Latino and Black, as well as low income. In the 94621 East Oakland zip code, for example, the per capita income is $15,973. The zip code is 60% Latino, 30% Black and only 4% white.

Black and Latino residents make up about 58% of the county's cases. (An additional 19.5% of Alameda County's cases are marked as "unknown race/ethnicity," making it hard to know the exact demographic toll the virus has taken.) The disproportionate impact of the virus on communities of color is a pattern that holds outside the Bay Area, as well. In California, Latinos make up about 39% of the population but 59% of coronavirus cases. Only 6% of the state's population is Black, but 8.3% of coronavirus deaths are Black people.

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California's case rate as a whole is fourth in the nation, at 1,380 cases per 100,000 people. That number may be slightly lower than reality, as the state is working through a backlog in coronavirus reporting caused by a data glitch.

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