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Epidemiologist Says It's Less About Where You Live, More About What You Do That Determines Your Likeliness Of Catching COVID-19

Photo: Kelly Sikkema
Photo: Kelly Sikkema

In the state’s poorest zip code, 32304 in Tallahassee, low-income residents live side by side with college students.

That’s raising concerns since local coronavirus cases are rising among college-aged people, and low income people tend to face more negative health impacts if they’re infected. 

The median age for Leon County residents who’ve tested positive with the coronavirus in the past few weeks is 19 to 21. That includes more than 1,200 FSU students. Some of those students live in the 32304 zip code, where many low-income families also live. Epidemiologist Dr. Perry Brown says the close proximity between those two groups could be concerning. “The incidence of a particular condition may be greater in lower-income areas. Certainly the—the results of being infected are often very very different between lower income and upper and higher income communities.” 32304 makes up about 30 percent of Leon County’s total COVID-19 cases. But Brown says regardless of where someone lives, everyone is at-risk for catching the disease. "Every day we are all at risk. Every time we have an interaction with an individual—we’re all at risk.” And Brown says, just living next door to someone who has the virus, doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll get it. He says it’s more about what someone does that determines their risk of catching the disease. If you'd like to listen to this story, click on the clip at the top of the page.

Danielle Prieur is a general assignment reporter and fill-in host at WMFE.