FLORIDA’S CORONAVIRUS DASHBOARD MANAGER FIRED FOR REFUSING TO CENSOR OUTBREAK NUMBERS
So color me surprised. Not. A Florida official just lost their job. Why? Because they refused to censor the real numbers of people infected with Covid-19. Really. The fired official was Rebekah Jones. She was the data scientist who managed the virtual, public “dashboard” that listed information on Coronavirus infection and fatality numbers. And why did this happen? It’s what you’d expect from Florida. According to Jones, she declined to “manually change data to drum up support for the plan to reopen.” Hmmm. She refused to censor the truth. So that’s right, the leaders in Florida wanted to lie about the Coronavirus’ true impact locally so they could say everything is fine. We can reopen now.
SO IS HER REPLACEMENT NOW WORKING IN THE PUBLIC’S INTEREST, OR DESANTIS’?
So who in the Florida government asked her to censor these numbers? The Florida Department of Health. You know, the state agency that’s supposed to help keep their citizens as healthy as possible? Until her removal, Rebekah Jones had been the geographic information system manager for DOH’s Division of Disease Control and Health Protection. So her responsibility to the public essentially ended her role in the agency. But we can safely assume that someone else is now “doing that job.” But unfortunately for Florida residents (and any visitors!) whoever is now doing that job is now really a censor of public health information.
AS SCIENTISTS GROW CONCERNED, DESANTIS SAYS FIRED OFFICIAL CHARGED WITH CYBERSTALKING
So is this where we are these days? Government officials fired when they refuse to be a censor? We already knew that bad politics were creating bad policy. The push to reopen is about Trump’s re-election. Denial is one thing. But this will kill people. It is killing people right now. Florida and the rest of the country won’t win by reopening. The economy isn’t bouncing back, no matter what. That will take at least two years. And when we censor health information to effect public policy in a pandemic, we kill people. Way to go, Florida. Governor DeSantis says Jones is facing charges for cyberstalking. I guess we’ll have to wait and see.