The Villages is comprised of 17 special purpose Community Development Districts (CDD) for mostly retirees located in Sumter County, 45 miles northwest of Orlando, Florida. It has consistently ranked as one of the fastest-growing areas in the USA with a current population estimated at 132,420. The Villages dominate Sumter County which is considered part of The Villages Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA). It was largely spared the full force of the pandemic earlier this year, suffering only 363 cases and 17 deaths to July 1st. Since then the number of cases has quadrupled to 1475 and the number of deaths has increased to 44.
These growth rates are consistent with the state of Florida (FL) as a whole and slightly better per capita-wise than FL averages. For example 2.69% of Floridians have contracted the virus while only 1.16% of Sumter County residents have. Death count per million is 440 for FL and 330 for Sumter County. It is this latter number that is worrisome because Sumter County has the oldest population in the USA: the median age is 63 yrs compared to 42 yrs for FL. Just this age difference would make the case fatality rate (CFR=deaths/cases) 9 times higher than for Florida as a whole.
That means that the CFR for Sumter County could be 5%-10%. Given the number of cases that have gone to hospitalization – over 100 in the last 4 weeks – the death count could easily double over the next 4 weeks. What is equally alarming is that Sumter County along with Marion County (which contains some portion of The Villages and is even more infected) residents and officials do not seem to care and carelessly flaunt masking and social distancing rules. This makes it very likely the virus will continue to thrive in this NW region of central Florida and kill hundreds of seniors unnecessarily.