Another Dem Narrative Collapses: Florida Officials & Scientists Denounce Data Managers COVID Death Deletions Claims
Last year the media was a buzz that DeSantis was deleting COVID death statistics to make Florida look better than New York.
It all started when data manager Rebekah Jones claimed that she was ordered to delete coronavirus deaths from Florida Department of Health dashboard to fluff the numbers. Jones then became a left wing celebrity and star on social media. Her claims are what initiated controversy surrounding Florida’s number and caused mistrust.
Despite her claims, Jones has no proof and after being fired in May of 2020 she told news outlets her removal was “not voluntary” and she was ordered to “manually change data to drum up support for the plan to reopen.”
“Her story has changed over time,” one Department of Health Employee told CBS12 News.
Last year, Jones claimed that state officials asked her to delete a column labeled “EventDate” which displayed the first possible reports of COVID-19. After some back and forth the column stayed on the dashboard.
Now, in 2021 Jones is claiming her issue is how Florida “presenting COVID-19 data to the public were specific, nuanced, and clearly outlined.”
But that’s not what she’s saying on social media.
From CBS 12:
Jones posted that Health Department leaders asked her to “fudge” COVID data. In the same string of tweets Jones alleged the Florida’s Deputy Secretary for Health, Dr. Shamarial Roberson, “asked me to go into the raw data and manually alter figures” in specific rural counties.
Jones alleged the scheme was a way to suppress COVID numbers in rural areas in order to allow them to meet Florida’s then-threshold to reopen.
In a now-deleted tweet from December 2020, Jones also alleged that Dr. Roberson “told me to delete cases and deaths.” Jones went on to demand Roberson resign.
In a recent, also deleted, tweet Jones backtracked writing that “deleting deaths was never something I was asked to do. I’ve never claimed it was.”
Staffers and officials are fed up with Jones and are coming forward, it turns out, Jones never had access to any raw data.
“[DOH employees] were literally handing her data to display,” the staffer said.
Department of Health officials confirmed that coronavirus data is sent from the county to the state, ALL raw data is tabulated at the county level. Which would mean if the state altered the state is would conflict with counties.
Researchers have also proclaimed there is nothing wrong with Florida’s coronavirus data.
“Florida does just not stand out to me as though we can’t trust the data or they’re much more inaccurate than any other state. I see no evidence in that,” says Jason Salemi, an Associate Professor of Epidemiology at USF College of Public Health who runs his own COVID data website. “I have not found any reason to believe the [data] reporting in Florida is much worse than anyplace else.”
“There’s no way that deaths are missing somehow,” said Natalie Dean, PhD, an Assistant Professor of Biostatistics at the University of Florida. Dean said Florida’s COVID data “doesn’t stand out” compared to other states.
The biggest tell that Jones believes she’s in trouble is that she is deleting tweets and changing her story.