Florida is seeing a record number of COVID cases, and many of the Intensive Care Units (ICU) there are now heading towards capacity. Just two months ago, the cases seemed to be going down and Governor DeSantis was eager to claim victory and re-open Florida. But were cases really down?
According to scientist Dr. Rebekah Jones, they were not. In fact she alleges she was fired from her job, in which she managed the main COVID dashboard for Florida, because she would not omit or change statistics. She states that only one county was safe for opening according to statistics, yet her administration wanted her to change data, and omit data to support re-opening. Governor De Santis denies this, stating she was fired for recurrent insubordination. Insubordination, to me meaning she did not follow orders from supervisors ie: did not change dashboard to what they wanted.
This begs the question, do we really have any idea how many people have COVID and how many actually have died from it. I cannot imagine this is the only state that has put pressure on data collectors to omit things, change things to make it look better than it is, so that they could start opening the State. They think they need numbers to convince people that it is safe ,and they do. Politicians want people buying again, working again, after all it is a election year darn it, and this COVID thing has gone past it’s 15 minutes of fame.
There are many things that go into objective data collection, but it can be subjective and moved to different buckets just to make it enough to be misleading. Many items fall into this category. The multiple testing of one patient for example. If a patient gets tested 3 times and is negative each time, this counts as tests performed, but may be different as patient tests.
As far as death counts, if you come in for a heart attack, and happen to be tested for COVID and found positive, it will be listed as death due to COVID. People who pass away at home, would miss being a COVID death unless they had already been tested previously, so in that respect we have some under-reporting. With every state doing something a little bit different, its no wonder that there is not a clear understanding of true numbers. So why are we all panicking about this virus? We do not have clear data, the death rate is between 3-5% here in the United States, 60% of those infected fall into a few states ( California, Texas, New York, Florida, and New Jersey) , and we just look like we are spinning in circles.
It is clear that we cannot trust statistics, however should this somehow bar us from doing what we need to do to mitigate spread of the disease? According to the CDC, China had 86,000 positives and 4834 deaths, that is a 6% death rate. Being autocratic , they mandated trackers as well as contact tracing. We have gone a different way in the US, due to people valuing privacy of information. We simply have not built a workable way to contact trace. We are way behind the curve, as the US has had 2.93 million cases and over 130,000 deaths, if the data can believed. Hospitalizations are 105 to 100,000 , rising exponentially the older you are. So we are officially back to square one, worrying about running out of hospital beds.
COVID is here to stay, we must figure out how we work around it pr despite it. . We cannot quarantine forever, nor stop working or go to school forever. We are all hoping a vaccine will make it safer. Until then mitigating the spread is of the highest concern. As we head to protests or stay in , let us all take others in to consideration. “Compassion and tolerance are not a sign of weakness but a sign of strength” Dalai Lama