Thursday 12 August 2021

CDC admits it DID overcount Florida's COVID cases: Agency revises down state's weekend numbers from 28,000 to 19,000 but offers no explanation after falsely claiming 'record' infections

 The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has quietly updated Florida's COVID-19 figures after accusations of overcounting earlier this week.

On Monday, the Florida Department of Health (DOH) accused the CDC of misreporting the state's weekend COVID-19 numbers.

The federal health agency had posted that 28,317 new Covid cases were recorded in The Sunshine State on Sunday, a record-high that was reported by multiple media outlets.

However, the DOH stated that is true total was 15,319 cases, indicating an overcount of more than 13,000. 

On Wednesday, the CDC updated Florida's new cases to 23,958 for Friday, 21,487 on Saturday and 19,584 on Sunday - quietly admitting that the state DOH was right - but did not offer an explanation as to why.

Interestingly, the revised CDC numbers are still higher than totals the DOH published to its Twitter account on Monday. 

CORRECT: CDC has revised Florida's COVID-19 figures after the state Department of Health accused the agency of overcounting Sunday's totals. Updates figures show 19,584 new cases on Sunday
INCORRECT: CDC reported a new record of more than 28,000 cases on Sunday. Florida's DOH accused the CDC of combining multiple days' worth of data into one

CDC revised Florida's COVID-19 figures after the state Department of Health accused the agency of overcounting Sunday's totals with updated figures showing 19,584 new cases (left). CDC previously reported an inaccurate new record of more than 28,000 cases (right)

Florida's DOH said the true number of cases on Sunday is 15,000, making the CDC's original number an overreport of 13,000 cases and not a record-high

Florida's DOH said the true number of cases on Sunday is 15,000, making the CDC's original number an overreport of 13,000 cases and not a record-high

The DOH official Twitter account took aim at local news outlets who published stories about the state setting a new record of daily COVID-19 cases on Monday, citing the CDC data.

'This is not accurate,' the agency tweeted on Monday evening, in response to an article by WSVN 7 News in Miami.

'Florida follows CDC guidelines reporting cases Monday through Friday, other than holidays. 

'Consequently, each Monday or Tuesday, there will be two or three days of data reported at a time. When data is published, it is attributed evenly to the previous days.'

According to the Florida DOH, a total of 56,386 cases over three days over the weekend - 21,500 on Friday, 19,567 on Saturday and 15,319 on Sunday. 

Revised CDC data included 2,000 additional cases on Friday and Saturday, and nearly 4,000 additional cases on Sunday. 

The reason for these different figures is unknown, and the CDC did not immediately respond to a request from the for explanation.

Originally, the CDC reported the data over two days instead of three, causing a high of more than 28,000 cases to be reported. 

The DOH then gave a potential reason for the error in a subsequent tweet.

'They combined MULTIPLE days into one. We anticipate CDC will correct the record,' the agency said in a tweet.

Florida does not report daily COVID-19 cases to the public.

Instead, starting in June 2021, the state decided to gather a week's worth of cases and report the total on Friday afternoon.

State health officials cited the falling case and test positivity rate as reason for the change two months ago.

In the time since, Florida has suffered the nation's largest outbreak of the virus, accounting for 20 percent of active cases. 

Other states have followed Florida is the halting of daily case reporting, including Iowa and South Dakota.

Nebraska has stopped reporting on any county-level data at all, with only some individual counties throughout the state still making numbers public.  

The Cornhusker State's COVID-19 dashboard is also no longer available to the public. 

This is the first time daily numbers from Florida have been directly reported to the public since early June.

Florida has been embroiled in controversy regarding their reporting of Covid numbers in the past as well.

Last year, Rebekah Jones was fired from her job at the DOH after claiming that she was pressured by supervisors to adjust case data to make reopening the state for politically viable.

Rebekah Jones (pictured) is a former DoH employee who was fired after saying the state was misreporting COVID-19 data
Gov Ron DeSantis (pictured) refuted claims that his state is misreporting data

Rebekah Jones (left) was fired from her job at the DoH in May, and subsequently set up her own version of the state's COVID-19 dashboard. Her house was raided in December on allegations that she hacked state computer systems. Gov Ron DeSantis (right) refuted claims from Jones that the state was misreporting virus data, saying 'obviously, she's got issues.'

Florida nurse practitioner talks about the recent COVID surge
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She also reported that the way Florida reported test positivity rate could be misleading because the state counted total tests rather than individuals tested, meaning one negative person could test multiple times and drive down positivity rates.

Jones launched her own version of a state Covid dashboard, using data leaked to her by her sources within the organization.

Florida Gov Ron DeSantis refuted Jones's claims.

'She was fired because she wasn't doing a good job,' DeSantis said in a news conference in December.

'None of the stuff that she's said was ever proven. You'd think that would be the end of it. Obviously, she's got issues.' 

In December, state police raided her home.

The Department of Law Enforcement reported that allegations that she had hacked DOH computer systems were reason for the raid. 

Exact numbers from the state can not be deciphered, but it is clear the Covid situation in Florida is dire.

Cases have increase more than eight-fold over the past month, from an average of over 3,000 cases a day in mid-July to now over 27,000 a day in mid-August.   

The CDC considers every county in the state to be of 'high' COVID-19 transmission.

Cases across the United States are still rising due to an Indian 'Delta' variant fueled outbreak.

Over the past two weeks, average daily cases have grown from 63,361 on July 27 to 124,470 on August 9 - a 96 percent increase in cases.


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