Population Characteristics

In addition to tracking the total number of cases, hospitalizations, and deaths related to COVID-19, health officials also analyze how the virus has impacted specific groups or communities. Information on the characteristics of those impacted by COVID-19 can highlight disparities, inform the City’s policies, and enable the City to increase outreach and provide resources to those who need them.
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. These 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 data show that 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.
Continue taking precautions
While these figures show that certain groups are particularly impacted by COVID-19, it is important to note that COVID-19 affects all San Franciscans. In order to protect yourself and others around you, continue to follow all health orders and recommendations. These include staying home, staying 6 feet apart while outside, and wearing a face covering. Visit SF.gov/coronavirus or call 311 to learn more.
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.
Testing efforts will impact this data
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 focused 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 about how you can access testing.

Population Characteristics for COVID-19 Cases and Deaths

The demographic and transmission data shown below 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. 
COVID-19 case data on gender, age, race/ethnicity, transmission, sexual orientation and homelessness status are 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 below.

Data Notes 

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.  
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 Persons Under Investigation (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.
Sexual Orientation: Information on sexual orientation is collected from individuals who are 18 years or older and who opt to provide it during case interviews. The Department of Public Health began asking for this information on April 28, 2020. To gather this information, SFDPH follows these Principles for Collecting, Coding, and Reporting Identity Data: Sexual Orientation Guidelines.
Deaths: The deaths shown here are suspected to be associated with COVID-19 or have COVID-19 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 by 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.
Note that there are a relatively low number of deaths due to COVID-19, and figures on population characteristics are subject to daily fluctuations. Caution is warranted before drawing any conclusions about trends in the numbers or population proportions.
Underlying Conditions (Comorbidities): Comorbidities for COVID-19 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.