TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — The chief architect of Florida’s coronavirus website was fired after an apparent disagreement over what information should be made public, raising questions about the integrity of Florida’s public health data.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has said his decision to begin reopening his state has been driven by science, and federal epidemiologists have praised his administration’s daily release of COVID-19 related data.
But Rebekah Jones, an information systems manager with the Florida Department of Health, announced in an email to researchers Friday that she was no longer in charge of the dashboard that provides daily snapshots of Florida’s COVID-19 infections, testing and deaths. She said she would not expect “the same level of accessibility and transparency” in the data presented there, adding that her “commitment to both is largely (arguably entirely) the reason I am no longer managing it.”
Jones was more pointed in an email to an Orlando television station, CBS12 News, when she said she was removed from her role because she would not “manually change data to drum up support for the plan to reopen.” It was unclear what data she was asked to change.
Jones could not be reached for comment.