Cooking the Florida Data Books

Cooking the Florida Data Books

If you have not been following him on Twitter, @PoliticalMath has been doing yeoman’s work debunking misinformation about coronavirus data. One big theme is the popular conspiracy theory, bandied about regularly by major media, that Florida is actually covering up significant numbers of deaths. But then you look at the evidence : [T]he author of [a CNN] piece references the fact that the CDC’s excess death data shows that COVID deaths are likely under-counted and says this is probably true of Florida. But that very specific thing is very specifically not true in Florida. In fact, Florida’s excess death data shows the opposite of New York’s. It shows that, excluding COVID deaths, excess deaths are lower than normal. . . . The author took a data point from one state, said that it was probably happening in Florida too so we can’t trust their data, and then never checked to see if his statement was correct. On the even-worse reporting on the firing of a woman working on the COVID-19 dashboard: This story has caused thousands of people to claim that Florida is faking their numbers. The Sun-Sentinel all but accuses Governor DeSantis personally of “ rigging COVID-19 data ” which is a flat-out lie and they know it. That narrative is now set for people and there is no going back from it. In pursuit of this narrative, the press (especially the Florida press) has repeatedly misinformed, fumbled basic data concepts, and omitted vital information. They have taken any small accident in reporting, any decision to protect patient privacy, any after-the-fact data correction and spun it into a grand conspiracy. None of this is true. In fact, the opposite is true. The Florida Department of Health has worked heroically to deliver the best data they can with the […]

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