Support local journalism. Join the Orlando Weekly Press Club.

click to enlarge Florida is currently taking a page out of Trump’s playbook when it comes to reporting COVID numbers.

Photo via the White House

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

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

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.

Stay on top of Central Florida news and views with our weekly newsletters, and consider supporting this free publication. Our small but mighty team is working tirelessly to bring you Central Florida news, and every little bit helps.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Orlando Weekly. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Orlando Weekly, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Orlando Weekly Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Orlando Weekly Press Club for as little as $5 a month.


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Read the Digital Print Issue

November 24, 2021

View more issues


© 2021 Orlando Weekly

Website powered by Foundation