Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis Plays Down Spike in COVID-19 Cases, Florida Data Scientist Publishes Higher Numbers

Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida tried to play down 1,000 new COVID-19 cases over nine of the past 10 days, notes the South Florida Sun Sentinel:

We are seeing people testing positive way more who are 25 to 45 than two months ago. But they are not in high-risk groups that end up in hospitals. These are people by and large without symptoms.

Florida’s top coronavirus data scientist Rebekah Jones has started her own website, FloridaCOVIDAction.com, which shows a higher case total and a lower number of people tested than data published by the state.

The Washington Post reports that Jones’ website counted 75,897 people with coronavirus infections in Florida on June 12, while the state site had 70,971.

Jones told The Palm Beach Post that she was fired on May 18 for refusing to “manipulate” data on the state’s health department site in order to support that DeSantis’s push to reopen the Florida economy:

We weren’t allowed to really draw attention to deaths, which is why I added hospitalizations and deaths, which use something we buried in a PDF but never showed on our dashboard. So people can bring the humanity aspect of this to the forefront.

I decided to stop wallowing in self-pity and do something constructive, something useful with the skill set I’ve been using for so long. People have a right to know what’s going on in a straightforward, nonpolitical kind of way.

(Sources: The Palm Beach Post, The Washington Post)

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