Women's staff of health authorities claimed to have been laid off because they refused to manipulate data on the new coronavirus
by Syracuse University
Rebecca Jones, who worked for the Florida Department of Health (FDH), was laid off on May 18, 2020, the local newspaper Florida Today reported. Mr. Jones was the engineer who designed FDH's portal site '
Florida scientist refused to manipulate COVID-19 data and was fired
Florida Gov. DeSantis fires data critic for 'insubordination' | Miami Herald
Woman who designed Florida's COVID-19 dashboard has been removed from her position | WPEC
In Florida, as of May 19, 46,944 COVID-19 cases have been identified, with 2052 dead. In addition, while Franklin County in northern Florida has a relatively low total number of people with 2 infections, Miami Dade County, which has Miami Beach, has a total of 15,942 people, and the spread of infections has increased. The situation is very different in the states.
In this way, the portal site that allows you to see the detailed status of COVID-19 in Florida at a glance is the Florida's COVID-19 Data and Surveillance Dashboard published by FDH. As a Geographic Information System (GIS) manager at FDH, Mr. Jones has been working for 16 months a day without taking a day off for 2 months, making efforts to create and operate a portal site, collect infected person data, etc. It was.
Florida's COVID-19 Data and Surveillance Dashboard
This achievement has earned him national attention in the United States, praised by Deborah Barks, the White House's coordinator of the Coronavirus Headquarters for this work .
However, Mr Jones said he was taken out of office due to a sudden relocation on May 5, and further dismissed from FDH on the 18th. Mr Jones said to the local TV station WPEC CBS 12 that 'my layoffs were not voluntary. I refused to be ordered to change the data manually in order to spur economic resumption plans.' I answered.
Also, according to Florida Today, Mr. Jones sent an e-mail to researchers and general users who registered their e-mail addresses to receive the updated information on the portal site on the 15th. In the email, Jones complained that he would be fired and that there would be a high risk that the accessibility and transparency of the portal would change.
On April 25, the number of updates to the portal site, which was twice a day, was reduced to once a day, but Jones said, `` Many staff were instructed to track data on economic resumption. We are preparing to provide more data and analytical results, and our staff will no longer be able to process the complete dataset twice a day. ' I am.
In response to this report, Dave Aronberg, a former Florida Senator and state attorney in Palm Beach County, Florida, said on Twitter, 'It's a disturbing suspicion. Manipulating portal data threatens the lives of the people.' I said
These allegations are disturbing.Manipulating the data on Florida's COVID-19 dashboard could cost lives.— Dave Aronberg (@aronberg) May 19, 2020
“Jones also told CBS12 in Tallahassee on Monday that she refused to'manually change data to drum up support for the plan to reopen 'the state.” Https://t.co/XJ24rukaPZ
Nikki Fried, a member of the Florida Agricultural and Consumer Services Commission, said: 'Thanks to Jones for not being afraid to speak up. Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida, The Florida health authorities have an obligation to answer this matter. '
Meanwhile, Governor Ron DeSantis spokeswoman Helen Aguille Ferret told local newspaper Miami Herald that Jones was dismissed because he did not comply with his job order. 'Mr. Jones had been rebellious while at FDH, including making unilateral changes to the portal site without the approval of the epidemiology team or Mr. Jones' boss. About COVID-19 Jones's open attitude to the experts who worked around the clock to publish critical information about the company was detrimental to the team: accuracy and transparency are always essential, but to others Confusing behavior is unacceptable, especially during unprecedented public health emergencies such as COVID-19, which is the best way for FDH to terminate Jones' employment. That's why I decided it was, 'he said, saying that Mr. Jones had a problem with his work attitude, which was the reason for the dismissal.
Democratic Party Chairman Terry Rizzo of the Florida Democratic Party has issued a statement calling for fact-finding on the matter. In the statement, Rizzo said, 'The suspicions that the Florida state may have attempted to manipulate and tamper with the data to make the restart appear safer are outrageous. Independent investigations into these allegations immediately It is necessary. '
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