This paper tests unconditional beta convergence of coronavirus infections and deaths in Florida during the first two infection and death waves in 2020. Cross-sectional results indicate strong beta convergence. Counties with relatively few infections and deaths in initial waves experienced a high growth in infections and deaths during the second wave. We test conditional beta convergence including an explanatory variable for daily encounters that comes from cell phone ping data. An increase in encounter rates (less social distancing) has a positive association with an increase in deaths during the second wave. Policy implications include allocating health-related resources from areas with an initial high level of infections and deaths towards areas less affected by viruses during the first wave, as these less-effected areas may become virus hot spots during subsequent waves.
COVID-19, beta convergence, Florida