The numbers of Covid19 cases and deaths are shocking. We having some falsely compare Covid19 to the flu, to now national tragedies such as 9/11 and the Vietnam War. Eventually, more events will get combined into those descriptions such as the Oklahoma City bombing and the Korean War. Numbers of deceased from all of our 20th century historical events combined to be compared to this virus is not only tragic, but an embarrassment.
Nobody gets any pleasure dealing with negative statistics. But it does absolutely no good, to “bury your head in the sand,” pretending that something is not happening, in spite of the overwhelming numbers that we are facing.
What does not help, is the relentless attack that is perceived by some on certain political leaders. While not to blame for the virus itself, decisions made, or not made, do get tied directly to the politician who decides them, good or bad. And there will be plenty of time for arm-chair quarterbacking who should have done what and when once, ONCE this is actually under control. And there will have to be answers.
The biggest distraction or shiny object however, seems to be wanting to “lessen the blow” of the actual virus and death counts, so that it does not seem so bad. What has not helped thus far, besides the many trolls putting out false information, is the lack of information in the beginning when action needed to be taken, but now, and mistakes in actual documentation of the virus. Of course mistakes happen. But now those mistakes are seen as an opportunity to present, approve, and convince misinformation. How else better can you get than to make the numbers lower to prove something not as bad is it may be.
In the state of Pennsyvlania, it was reported a 200 person count difference in recordings of Covid19 deaths. No detailed explanation was given, and it most certainly did not take away the fact that hundreds at the time did in fact die from the virus. But the problem of whatever that error caused, has understandably given right to question the accuracy.
But in Florida, a different situation has occurred. As local governments have taken action to restore activities in their communities, it has been discovered things are not as they seem to be. According to CDC guidelines, and phased opening recommendations by the President Of The United States, certain criteria needs to be met in order to restore business eventually to “as usual.” What happens if you do not meet that criteria, but are facing all kinds of pressure to “re open” anyway at any cost?
It seems that the Tampa Bay Times have discovered at least one answer to that. question.
Early in April, the TBT had tried to obtain information on cases of Covid19 in regard to staff and residents living in long-term care facilities, of course one of the higher risks concerns. The information is normally submitted by the agency themselves, to the Agency of Health of Florida. At the critical object of this information, the ability of loved ones to be able to tell if their family member was in a facility facing a Covid19 outrbreak. The state refused to produce the names of any facility citing privacy concerns. No names of residents are staff were being exposed, so what was the privacy concern? That information could have been used by families to remove their loved one before exposure.
In any case, the state was sued on the grounds of violating the 1st Amendment in regard to freedom of the press and free speech, and the names of the facilities and the numbers were released. That should have been the end of this kind of behavior. The state got caught suppressing information. And then something else happened.
During a press conference later on, April 13th, Florida Surgeon General Scott Rivkees was abruptly removed from Governor Ron DeSantis’ cabinet meeting after making the comment that social distancing, one of the main pillars of the CDC guidelines to prevent the spread of Covid19, would be necessary until a vaccine was created. Hardly what a tourist-driven state wants to hear. Clearly an effort of silencing, and minimizing what was happening in Florida was underway so as to help make it possible to appear ready to return back to normal. An impossible task if it still looks like Covid19 is still on the rise.
The reality is, Covid19 is still on the rise in Florida. The problem is now, we cannot prove it. It can be proven that the information cannot be obtained. The Tampa Bay Times has just reported on this issue.
Florida has stopped releasing statistics from the medical coroners which include Covid19 death information. Numbers have not been released in over a week. Sure, we have all seen the numbers rise in Florida. It is documented. But it does not include the numbers released by the coroner’s offices. This means that the death toll in Florida has the potential of being 10% higher than is being reported by the Florida Department of Health. The information states where the deceased is from, diagnosis of death and some other information, but not the name. So, for officials to claim it is a privacy issue after decades of the coroner’s offices operating this way, suddenly no longer doing so because of the Covid19 crisis, is bullshit.
At issue it is believed, a distinction between residency. In other words, well known for an inflated “snow bird” population, seniors who spend long periods of time over the winter months in the sunshine state, should not be included in the death toll if they die from the virus, because, technically, they are not Florida residents. Therefore, their death should not count for Florida.
Think about that for a moment. The whole purpose of a count like a death count, or virus caseload, is to be able to tell how severe an area is dealing with an outbreak. But Florida wants to only publish the deaths of residents only which of course from a public relations standpoint, makes Florida much healthier and safer than it really is.
But is an estimated death count 10% higher than stated, a couple of hundred deaths that big of a deal? Absolutely. If deaths are still climbing at a rate higher than recommended by the CDC, then the state should not proceed with restoring activities and businesses, something the governments of Florida are anxious to do.
As the saying goes, “if a tree falls in the woods, does it make a sound?”
I relate two stories to help understand how stupid, foolish, flawed, and dangerous the thinking of Florida is.
The first, a hypothetical. A hotel on the Island of Gibip, property of another country, has 70 Americans staying in it, the rest of the occupancy, all locals. A tragic fire engulfs the hotel, killing all of the Americans who did not get out of the building. The headlines in the local paper state a miracle, no deaths at the hotel. In spite of the truth that 70 people did die, but because they were not local, that fact was not stated so as not to hurt the tourist industry of that island.
Okay, that was an absurd example. Though not really a stretch. People died, their deaths not counted because they were not citizens. Let me give you a real example, because it did happen.
I worked on an industrialized plant site. My department had four buildings. We all had our home building, but were eligible to work overtime in all buildings. One particular evening, I was working in another building, and I was injured, pretty bad too. An investigation would follow, as well as treatment for the injury. OSHA would be involved since there would be lost time involved.
When I got the injury report, and was told, TOLD to sign it, I noticed a huge error. The location of the accident was listed as my “home” building, not where the injury had occurred. I stated the error needed to be corrected, as it was an official document, and was told “no”. In rare unity, even my supervisor had agreed, that the injury took place in the other building, that is what needed to be recorded. Of course, my supervisor did not want an injury ding on his record. More importantly, legally, it should have stated where the injury took place.
Now the problem and the motive. The building that I was working in, was steamrolling toward an impressive injury-free record, and was soon to be presented a nice reward for their effort. Truth be told, there were likely other injuries that did not get reported. But my injury definitely would have taken away this recognition. They needed my injury reported in another building. Regardless that the equipment involved did not even exist in my building.
Of course there was scorn by my fellow workers from the other building for daring to screw with their record and reward. It was my fault for getting hurt, not theirs. In the end, I lost. The injury was falsely recorded in my “home” building where it did not occur. And thirty employees got a recognition for their injury-free record. That is what mattered.
That was a true story. And it definitely emphasizes the importance of recording information and why it matters. No one wants this pandemic over more than me. But hiding and ignoring facts does not make the virus go away. Only truth and actions. And our country has been making a difference. Okay, not fast enough for some, but it has been working.
Florida decided to restore some activities, and soon others will follow. In spite of our numbers climbing, and numbers being hidden. The truth will come out eventually, either by lawsuit, or by history. But by then it may be too late.