While a lot of conspiracy theorists are running with the idea that hospitals are hiking up the number of COVID-19 deaths to make the virus look more scary than it is, according to a Florida health official, the opposite may be true.
The “architect and manager” of Florida’s coronavirus data and surveillance was recently removed, which has a lot of people wondering if there’s something fishy going on.
“I understand, appreciate, and even share your concern about all the dramatic changes that have occurred and those that are yet to come,” said Rebekah Jones—who headed the website crafted by a team of Florida Department of Health data scientists and other health experts—in a statement, per Florida Today‘s report on her removal. “As a word of caution, I would not expect the new team to continue the same level of accessibility and transparency that I made central to the process during the first two months. After all, my commitment to both is largely (arguably entirely) the reason I am no longer managing it.”
On top of that, in an email to a Florida-based CBS affiliate, Jones confirmed that her exit was definitely “not voluntary.” She goes on to suggest that she had been removed after refusing to “manually change data to drum up support for the plan to reopen.” Yiiiiiiiikes.
In recent weeks, since she was let go, data from the site in question is said to have “disappeared with no explanation.” News of Jones’ removal comes as Florida and many other states are pushing for the United Stastes to reopen, despite health officials voicing concerns about such a hasty approach.