Florida's top coronavirus researcher explains that she was fired over an unwillingness to manipulate data.
As many of the United States prepare to reopen, Florida officially kicked off the first phase of their movement this past Monday. As expected, the decision was not without its share of controversy. According to a report from Business Insider, a top coronavirus researcher named Rebekah Jones was fired over an unwillingness to tamper with COVID-19 related data. As she explained to CBS12 News, she claimed the firing occurred because she refused to "manually change data to drum up support for the plan to reopen."
The development is of particular significance as Jones was responsible for designing Florida's COVID-19 dashboard, which helped keep track of cases, deaths, and hospitalizations. Now that she has been involuntarily dismissed, Jones worries that the same attention to detail will not be retained. "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," she explains. "After all, my commitment to both is largely (arguably entirely) the reason I am no longer managing it."
Should the allegations that Jones is speaking of prove to be true, it certainly paints an unsettling picture for Florida residents. Especially for those who prioritize health over the economy. It wouldn't be surprising for this to have some fallout, especially if word gets out that statistics and information is being deliberately manipulated. For the record, Florida's reopening plan allows for "gyms, stores, grooming services, and restaurants" to open at fifty percent capacity.