Five members of Florida’s U.S. House Democratic Delegation has accused Governor Ron DeSantis of hiding and manipulating the state’s coronavirus data to speed up the state’s reopening.
During a virtual press conference on May 21st, U.S. representatives Lois Frankel, Ted Deutch, Donna Shalala, Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Debbie Murcasel-Powell addressed the allegations of the COVID-19 data manipulation by the state officials.
“We had to fight with the state when they tried to block information about the nursing home cases and deaths in nursing homes, we had to fight with the state over medical examiner numbers and why they’re not including deaths from people who are not from Florida,” said Deutch, noting that accurate data is crucial for the reasoning behind any decision-making. “It’s one thing after another.”
The governor’s office has yet to comment on that press conference.
The conference occurred several days after a scientist named Rebekah Jones who created Florida’s COVID-19 information portal claimed she was fired on May 5th after refusing to doctor data in favor of the state’s reopening.
DeSantis dismissed concerns about Jones’ firing and questions about the state’s data at two press conferences this week, claiming that she was not in charge of the portal’s run and was fired for “a bunch of different reasons.”
But Jones was not the first one to start a discussion about the alleged COVID-19 data manipulation in Florida. For instance, back in April several state media outlets filed a lawsuit demanding the official reveal of coronavirus deaths at prisons and assisted living facilities.
Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz also accused DeSantis of deliberately covering up the pandemic data.
“He is intentionally hiding information from the public so they don’t know that they should be really uncomfortable with the reopening,” Wasserman Schultz said, as quoted by the Palm Beach Daily News. “There is no question this is intentional.”
Gov. DeSantis keeps claiming that nothing about the data has ever been manipulated. “Our data is available, our data is transparent, in fact, Dr. Birx has talked multiple times about how Florida has the absolute best data,” he said a press conference with Vice President Mike Pence in Orlando on May 20th.