Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is cooking the books on our COVID numbers

Florida is currently taking a page out of Trump’s playbook
when it comes to reporting COVID numbers.
Florida is currently taking a page out of Trump’s playbook when it comes to reporting COVID numbers. Photo via the White House

A little over a year ago, at a White House press conference, President Trump said a really amazing thing about COVID-19.

“Think of this,” he said. “If we did half the testing, we would have half the cases.”

This statement so stupendously contradicts mathematics and reality, it’s almost difficult to comprehend.

OK, the ex-president was known for malapropisms and mangled phrasing when speaking off the cuff. But his meaning was clarified when he then said that if the U.S. didn’t test people for COVID, then you wouldn’t have “all the headlines.”

Wow. What’s more important here, controlling the narrative? Or controlling a disease that is killing a 9/11’s worth of Americans every day?

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is currently taking a page out of Trump’s playbook when it comes to reporting COVID numbers. As the Delta surge began, the state Department of Health changed the way it reported death data to the CDC.

The most recent weekly report showed 46 “new deaths” per day over the previous seven days. Reporting by the Miami Herald reveals that had the health department used its former reporting system, the death data would have shown an average of 262 daily deaths.

We can call it a scandal that so many are dying in Florida, but any word for Florida’s attempt to hide those unnecessary deaths is unprintable ... even here.

Worse, the state is refusing to fulfill public records requests regarding COVID data, counter to
Florida's robust transparency laws, which are frankly being shredded by the current Legislature.

State Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith (D-Orlando) is suing the Florida Department of Health over their denial of his request for daily pediatric case numbers, hospitalizations and deaths for Orange County.

Smith says the DOH and state surgeon general Scott Rivkees claim the information is confidential. This is the same information that was previously released daily on the state's COVID dashboard. The department now reports less information, less frequently, while the governor refuses to encourage prevention and instead hustles a cure in which his campaign donors have a financial interest.

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About The Author

Jessica Bryce Young

Jessica Bryce Young has been working with Orlando Weekly since 2003, serving as copy editor, dining editor and arts editor before becoming editor in chief in 2016.
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