Fudging the Numbers


The scientist who created Florida’s COVID-19 data portal wasn’t just removed from her position on May 5, she was fired on Monday by the Department of Health, she said, for refusing to manipulate data. There are some who believe Florida’s Gov Ron De Santis’ government was censoring information to support the case for re-opening Florida.

The Gov called the firing of the scientist Rebekah Jones a non-issue.   The next day, the governor said he did know who she was and angrily dumped out a bucket of opposition research which included a cyberstalking charge concerning an ex-boyfriend.

Jones’ firing was a story that had traction because of complaints about the DeSantis administration’s past actions on public records and questions about the Department of Health’s release of data.

For instance, there was the mysterious disappearance of data about the earliest COVID-19 cases from the state’s tally two weeks ago. And last month, the state unexpectedly blocked the release of normally public data about medical examiners’ reports on COVID-19 deaths. This was only given out ― with significant redactions — after Gannett (the owner of The Daytona Beach News-Journal) and several other Florida newspapers, pressed for its release.

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