Counties in Florida intentionally hid death rates as COVID-19 cases soared throughout summer
On June 4, 2021, the Florida Dept. of Health stopped telling the general public how many people were dying of COVID-19.
They knew, and had the data, but chose not to share it.
The department started weekly reports and directed anyone looking for data they weren’t providing to the CDC.
The CDC also relied on Florida though, and were unable to update their own data.
From June through mid-September the areas for number of deaths online through the CDC were blank.
At the end, the total death count for that time period was 4,437 residents.
“The issues Florida has had with data displayed by CDC has caused great confusion and allowed misinformation to perpetuate in our state,” Florida Department of Health spokesperson Weesam Khoury wrote in an email to the Tampa Bay Times.
In response to why they haven’t been releasing data like before, Khoury said the Dept. of Health is equipped to make decisions regarding data.
The end result turned into weekly reports released every Friday at 5 p.m. that was not as easy to understand as the prior COVID dashboard the state provided.
The decision to change how information was provided was made when the positivity rate fell below 5% early on, and vaccines were made widely available.
It is still unclear to residents in Florida exactly how many deaths are being reported, when, and where.
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