Population Characteristics

In addition to tracking the overall number of cases, hospitalizations, and deaths related to COVID-19, health officials also analyze how the virus has impacted specific groups or communities. This information enables the City to increase outreach and resources to those most impacted. The charts below display available information on demographics, housing status, and the suspected means of virus transmission for confirmed COVID-19 cases and deaths in San Francisco.
Note that there are a relatively low number of deaths due to COVID-19, and figures on population characteristics are subject to daily fluctuation as data are updated and cleaned on an ongoing basis. Caution is warranted before drawing any conclusions about trends in the numbers or population proportions. This data are updated daily.

Understanding risk factors and disparities

The spread of COVID-19 is dependent on many factors. Some key factors contributing to COVID-19 transmission or severity include:
  • Living in crowded conditions
  • Leaving the house for essential work, or being unable to limit outings  
  • Being over the age of 60
  • Having certain preexisting health conditions
Structural racism is closely tied with many of these risk factors and emerging data indicates communities of color bear a disproportionate burden of COVID-19 disease and death. Learn more about prioritizing vulnerable populations in this recent SF Health Advisory on Prioritizing Populations with Structural Barriers to Health.
More information on COVID-19 risk factors are available at the Department of Public Health’s Disease Prevention and Control website. Learn more about health disparities in our community in the 2019 San Francisco Community Health Needs Assessment.
In addition, testing plays a crucial role in understanding who has been exposed to the virus and in preventing further spread. It is important to note that future mass testing efforts may affect the data shown below. There are options for getting tested for COVID-19 in San Francisco for everyone, including people with and without health insurance. Learn more about how you can access testing.

San Francisco offering help

San Francisco is offering a variety of resources to support residents, such as childcare for essential workers, help for residents needing access to food, and financial assistance for small businesses. For information about all the resources available, visit sf.gov/coronavirus or call 311.

Continue taking precautions

While these figures show certain groups being particularly impacted by COVID-19, it’s important to note that COVID-19 impacts all San Franciscans. In order to protect yourself and others around you, continue to follow all health orders and recommendations. These include staying home as much as possible, wearing a face covering whenever you leave your home, and staying at least six feet away from others when going out for essential activities. Visit SF.gov/coronavirus or call 311 to learn more.

Data Notes

Demographic and transmission data are based on information reported from case interviews, laboratories, and providers. This data may not be immediately available for recently reported cases and will be updated as more information becomes available. 
Data Privacy: COVID-19 case data on gender, age, race/ethnicity, transmission, and homelessness status is not shown for any subgroup with fewer than 5 confirmed cases in order to protect individuals' privacy. As more cases are confirmed, groups with 5 or more cases will be added and shown above.
Race/Ethnicity: The "Other” category includes those who identified as Other or with a race/ethnicity that does not fit the choices collected. The “Unknown” category includes individuals who did not report a race/ethnicity to their provider, could not be contacted, or declined to answer.
Underlying Conditions (Comorbidities): Comorbidities for COVID-19 cases and deaths are reported when a person has one or more underlying health conditions, such as chronic lung disease including asthma or emphysema, diabetes, cardiovascular disease or liver disease, present at the time of diagnosis or death.
Experiencing Homelessness: In the data shown above, individuals are identified as experiencing homelessness based on self-reported living situation or location at the time of testing. Cases were also matched to Department of Public Health data on people who have used health and homelessness services in the last year and whose last known living situation was unsheltered or in temporary shelter. Note that residents in Single-Room Occupancy (SRO) hotels are considered marginally housed and are not included in these figures. These methods serve as an estimate of persons experiencing homelessness, but may not meet homelessness definitions or verification standards according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) or adopted by the San Francisco Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing.
Note that the total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases for people experiencing homelessness will not be equivalent to the number of confirmed cases or PUIs shown in COVID-19 Alternative Housing data. Some guests of the alternative housing program are not experiencing homelessness, but do not have the ability to safely self-isolate. For more information about the City’s response to COVID-19, visit sf.gov.
Deaths: The deaths shown here are suspected to be associated with COVID-19 or listed as the cause of death. The population characteristics of COVID deaths come from case investigations, laboratories, healthcare providers, the Office of the Medical Examiner, the California Department of Public Health Vital Records, and matching case information to preexisting City databases to find additional information (such as housing status among clients who are confirmed cases). These data may not be immediately available for recently reported cases and will be updated as more information becomes available.