Florida Government Decides To Fire Its Data Chief Rather Than Be Honest About Its COVID Numbers

from the 'we've-found-a-cure-that's-worse-than-the-disease!' dept

We were promised no more deaths by May 15th, but that hasn't happened. With no one 100% sure what the best options are going forward, this is how states are handling the task of (lol) cautiously "reopening." A long press conference held by the Trump administration said states could reopen if they hit a number of checkpoints, including a certain amount of testing and a plateau/drop in positive cases.

A number of states appear to have stopped listening after the word "reopen." Whether or not they've hit the CDC's checkpoints does not appear to matter. A collective shrug about deaths and infections was issued by a number of governors, some of whom are (justifiably) tired of gun-toting residents showing up at the state house to protest their lack of access to haircuts and house parties.

When the data doesn't match the narrative, there's only one thing to do: fuck up the data. And the person who's compiling it. Florida has lots of sunny beaches that are currently too empty to satisfy sun junkies who wish to take advantage of the lengthy shorelines contained in America's Penis. COVID stats weren't exactly lending themselves to the "it's fine" narrative the governor wanted to push. So, the state government did some pushing of its own.

Late last Friday, the architect and manager of Florida's COVID-19 dashboard — praised by White House officials for its accessibility — announced that she had been removed from her post, causing outcry from independent researchers now worried about government censorship.

[...]

Citing "reasons beyond my division’s control," Jones said her office is no longer managing the dashboard, is no longer involved in publication, fixing errors or answering questions "in any shape or form."

She warned that she does not know what the new team's intentions are for data access, including "what data they are now restricting."

The means of impartial COVID stat reporting have been seized. Power to the (powerful) people! The dashboard that used to provide an easy-to-understand breakdown of the state's infection and death rates is being replaced with something that aligns more closely with the aura of sunny healthiness the state government wants to project. Dance through the droplets or whatever. Want to check the state's new math? Well, you can fuck right off, apparently.

When [researchers] tried requesting the previously available underlying data, DOH officials said that because the data are "provisional" no such requests would be considered until May 2021.

Yet the state regularly publishes provisional data, including for infectious diseases such as influenza.

Here's the governor's literally unbelievable defense of his indefensible actions: when someone asks for time off, they're clearly asking to be fired and for their work to be destroyed.

When first asked about Jones' dismissal, [Governor Ron] DeSantis on Monday called it a "nonissue." He said he understood from an email she sent her supervisor that "she was tired and needed a break."

He then went on to claim -- after being given a few days to compose his thoughts -- that this firing was due to "repeated insubordination" rather than the researcher just being tired. "Insuboridination" apparently means publishing actual COVID stats rather than manipulated data that provides post hoc justification for the state government's reopening plans.

The state is now open. Whether or not that's good for residents and visitors remains to be seen. The state has taken control of a narrative. Since the real numbers aren't aligned with the state's official OPEN FOR BUSINESS pitch, the state apparently felt its only option was to fire the person compiling the data.

Now, residents and visitors will have only the state-approved numbers to rely on. Let's hope they don't. If this turns into another pandemic nightmare that the state could have avoided by being honest, citizens are going to start wondering why government entities are immunized against manslaughter charges. And those who demanded at gunpoint that the government take the brakes off the state economy are welcome to discover firsthand why an overabundance of caution is preferable to caution that's been carried off by the wind.

This is a state that has decided to lie to everyone, starting with itself. Govern yourself accordingly.

Filed Under: cdc, covid-19, data, florida, guidelines, rebekah jones, reopening, ron desantis, transparency


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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 May 2020 @ 4:47am

    What you don't know can't hurt you.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Bloof (profile), 27 May 2020 @ 4:59am

    When reality doesn't fit your agenda, fire and lie, it's the Republican way.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Michael, 27 May 2020 @ 5:51am

      Re:

      Unfortunately, it seems to be rampant on both sides of the aisle.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Stephen T. Stone (profile), 27 May 2020 @ 6:01am

        Republicans do it far more often, though. Who was it that claimed voter fraud was so rampant that it needed to be investigated, then refused to release the findings of such an investigation to Congress (or the general public) and disbanded the team created to carry out that investigation? Because it sure as shit wasn’t Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, or any other Democrat.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Bergman (profile), 27 May 2020 @ 3:49pm

          Re:

          Yeah, but it WAS Democrats who refused to release the exact findings of either of the CDC studies on gun violence that have been done in the past 25 years.

          The first (officially unpublished but available through FOIA) is the source of the pro-gun claim that there are over 2 million good uses of guns every year.

          The second was published, but they didn't cite actual numbers, just made a vague statement that their earlier study appeared to still be true.

          Both parties have a bad habit of burying facts that undermine their ideology.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 27 May 2020 @ 6:18am

        Re: Re:

        Fortunately, many humans are now aware of the lopsidedness of this both sides argument.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        PaulT (profile), 27 May 2020 @ 7:01am

        Re: Re:

        Can you name a recent example of a Democrat doing this? There may well be one I just can't think of an example.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Baron von Robber, 27 May 2020 @ 7:13am

        Re: Re:

        You mean rampant on one side. Rare on the other.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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    identicon
    Florida Resident, 27 May 2020 @ 5:49am

    There is a lot more to this story than your very biased article mentions. Such info has been published in newspapers such as the Gainesville Sun and Ocala Star Banner. The bottom line is that what she did was help design the system, not input the data. So, this really is a non-issue. If you go to the Floridahealth.gov covid-19 page and look at the data, we are getting the same data and it is far more data than many states are releasing.

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    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 27 May 2020 @ 5:58am

      When [researchers] tried requesting the previously available underlying data, DOH officials said that because the data are "provisional" no such requests would be considered until May 2021.

      Can you access that data? If not, this is an actual issue.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Bruce C., 27 May 2020 @ 12:12pm

        Re:

        Yes, the lost access to the "provisional" data is a new development. If the data is so provisional, then the dashboard itself is "provisional" and of little value for information or decision-making. They're releasing case counts within 24 hours.

        Another oddity in the Florida data from the very beginning even before this, was that they don't do a very good job of reporting recovered cases. Some counties still have zero recoveries reported, or the ratio of reported deaths to reported recoveries is > 1 to 1.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 28 May 2020 @ 9:00am

          Re: Re:

          "Some of the data might not be accurate."

          "Okay so we should continue to monitor it while still releasing all the data so we have the most comprehensive point of view possible?

          "No we're going to stop sharing any of the data."

          ...really Florida?

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 27 May 2020 @ 6:21am

      Re:

      "There is a lot more to this story than your very biased article mentions."

      There is always much more to every story, where have you been?
      In addition, everything every human does is biased. What sort of bias are you referring to? Is there anything that is incorrect? Perhaps you could point it out?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Toom1275 (profile), 27 May 2020 @ 9:20am

      Re:

      PSA: there are some disinformation agents spreading the baseless slander against this whistleblower from FOX subsidiary "tallahasseereports".

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Capitain Crazy Pants, 27 May 2020 @ 6:23am

    I will shut them down if they do not report the numbers that I think are real!

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    identicon
    pegr, 27 May 2020 @ 6:26am

    Meta

    Tim, do you really need to use profanity for these articles? I’m not a (fucking!) prude, but it seems so unnecessary.

    Momma always said, if your not smart enough to express yourself without profanity, go right ahead, but others will know you are not smart enough to express yourself without profanity.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 27 May 2020 @ 6:36am

      Re: Meta

      Don't be so fuckin' hard on Tim! He's a damned fine writer, and this is a damned important story about the government treating us like shit.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 27 May 2020 @ 7:02am

      Re: Meta

      Writers have individual styles, if you dislike this writer, the byline is there to tell you not to bother if you wish. That's easier than trying to get a writer to change his style for your sensibilities.

      "if your not smart enough"

      Lol.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        pegr, 27 May 2020 @ 7:19am

        Re: Re: Meta

        Tim is not going to offend me. But I can't pass along links to others that might be. Limiting your audience may not be the best way to promote your point.

        But I get your comment. It is what it is.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          PaulT (profile), 27 May 2020 @ 8:30am

          Re: Re: Re: Meta

          Yes, but some might be attracted by his attitude rather then put off by it... In fact, by reading then complaining you already gave the piece more engagement and attention, and thus advertising, than you would have otherwise.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 27 May 2020 @ 12:11pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Meta

            Don't worry, plenty of people will be attracted by the attitude. We all know that attitude is what sells products and ideas.

            I would also rather he stop. I don't get my feelings hurt by it, but I would prefer to read information and evaluate it without having to sift through dick jokes and miscellaneous invective.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              PaulT (profile), 28 May 2020 @ 12:56am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Meta

              Then stop reading and commenting when you see his name on the byline. If enough people do this, then I'm sure something will change. Otherwise, nobody cares whether his style is to your personal taste, and whining about it here only drives his numbers up.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 27 May 2020 @ 10:09am

      Re: Meta

      If after reading an article about 'state governor fires someone for literally unbelievable reason so that they can open the state during a global pandemic, likely leading to a massive spike in hospitalizations/deaths' the part that sticks out as most offensive is the swearing you need to get your priorities looked at.

      There are times when a 'darn' is appropriate and times when a 'damn' is, this is most certainly the latter.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        nasch (profile), 27 May 2020 @ 12:31pm

        Re: Re: Meta

        the part that sticks out as most offensive is the swearing you need to get your priorities looked at.

        The fact that's what he decided to comment on doesn't imply that that is what he found most offensive about the whole situation.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 27 May 2020 @ 7:30pm

      Re: Meta

      Momma was a dumbass and you are merely a tone troll.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 May 2020 @ 6:28am

    And those who demanded at gunpoint that the government take the brakes off the state economy are welcome to discover firsthand...

    "Millions will cry your name, Governor."
    "My twitter followers?"
    "Your victims."

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Koby (profile), 27 May 2020 @ 6:44am

    If this turns into another pandemic nightmare that the state could have avoided by being honest, citizens are going to start wondering why government entities are immunized against manslaughter charges.

    But if it DOESN'T turn into a nightmare, then the nanny state health "experts" will be exposed as Chicken-Littles, and citizens will continue to lose faith in the elitists. I can't predict what will happen, but you have to admit that it's surprisingly high stakes either way.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 27 May 2020 @ 7:15am

      Re:

      In your dreams.

      A hypothetical pandemic response resulting in less death would be considered overkill because it worked? This sot of reasoning is part of what got us into this mess in the first place. High stakes indeed, honesty versus fealty.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 27 May 2020 @ 8:35am

        Re: Re:

        A hypothetical pandemic response resulting in less death would be considered overkill because it worked?

        Why not? Consider Y2K. Big craziness about what would happen, programmers getting pulled out of retirement to fix things, and when the day came? Nothing happened. Now the hysteria is considered a joke, but what doesn't seem to be considered is the idea that maybe nothing happened because it got fixed.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 27 May 2020 @ 11:48am

          Re: Re: Re:

          "Why not?"

          Well - ok, it will be considered overkill by those who know not what they are talking about.

          Apparently it was a huge deal for those financial institutions who use cobol.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 27 May 2020 @ 12:21pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Consider Y2K. Big craziness about what would happen, programmers getting pulled out of retirement to fix things, and when the day came? Nothing happened.

          And what do you think those programmers were doing, sitting about waiting for the apocalypse, ow working hard to prevent it?

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Michael Long (profile), 27 May 2020 @ 12:57pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          So...

          1) Problems if we don't do something about it...
          2) Did something about it...
          3) Almost no problems...

          Because we did something about it.

          Not sure I'm following the illogic here....

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 27 May 2020 @ 3:55pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            The illogic comes when people see "almost no problems" and conclude "overreaction to a non-problem" instead of "hey we fixed it, good job!"

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 28 May 2020 @ 5:01pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Almost no problems... with deaths from COVID.

            What about the problem of the vastly higher number of deaths over the long term (and not just from the elderly and immunocompromised that COVID actually kills) from suicide, depression-related risk-increasing behavior (drug, alcohol, cigarettes), unemployment, failed businesses

            ...from the economy-killing overreaction the Chicken Littles agitated for (and continue to agitate for) to...

            ...save some elderly and immunocompromise from dying of COVID?

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              Toom1275 (profile), 28 May 2020 @ 8:33pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              And drivel like that is how anti-lockdown types reveal their complete ignorance of math, germ theory, law, and economics.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              PaulT (profile), 28 May 2020 @ 11:13pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              "What about the problem of the vastly higher number of deaths over the long term"

              I'll be happy to read the study that proves this assertion.

              "from the economy-killing overreaction the Chicken Littles agitated for"

              Just a hint: "Chicken Little" refers to a reaction to something that's not going to happen, not a pandemic that's killed over 360,000 people worldwide and about which we know that nearly all US deaths could have been prevented by Trump taking action one March 1st.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          TFG, 27 May 2020 @ 1:17pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Yes, exaclty, let's consider Y2K. It's a perfect analogy.

          You see, the reason that nothing happened on the day of Y2K is because all of those programmers came out of the woodwork and put in the hours and hours of work to make sure that everything was fixed.

          They succeeded, so nothing happened. Y2K catastrophes did not happen because people made sure that all these core systems were actually Y2K compliant.

          The pandemic follows a similar path. If countries do everything right, then the predicted catastrophes don't happen, because they took steps to prevent them. Mitigation efforts, such as lockdowns and quarantines, if properly followed, have the effect of drastically reducing the infection rates. That "nothing is happening" is evidence that the approaches are working.

          The predicted catastrophes are what happens if people don't do what they need to. As states and government ignore the necessary steps to prevent pandemic catastrophe, we will see more infections, we will see more deaths.

          What the US of A is seeing now, is akin to what could have happened if people didn't take Y2K seriously and didn't put the work to prevent the problem.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 28 May 2020 @ 2:50pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            From what I heard, countries like Russia who did not put a ton of effort into Y2K didn't have anything catastrophic happen either.

            Given that we have states that have locked down and states that have not, by now we should have some data on how the lockdowns worked.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              PaulT (profile), 28 May 2020 @ 11:09pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              "From what I heard, countries like Russia who did not put a ton of effort into Y2K didn't have anything catastrophic happen either."

              Define "catastrophic". The tales of lanes dropping from the skies were never going to happen, but there's no doubt that major issues with normal operation, financial records and so on would be experience everywhere if nothing had been done.

              "Given that we have states that have locked down and states that have not, by now we should have some data on how the lockdowns worked."

              You do, and they did. In fact we have enough data to show how many additional lives could have been saved if Trump had taken action earlier instead of pretending it was a hoax

              https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-52757150

              The question now is whether you can re-open without a massive second wave of infections.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Baron von Robber, 27 May 2020 @ 8:18am

      Re:

      SARS2 doesn't care about nanny states, experts or Chicken-Littles.
      It spreads easily from person to person, destroys lung alveoli at much higher rates than normal flu.
      Only covidiots don't understand this.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        PaulT (profile), 27 May 2020 @ 8:33am

        Re: Re:

        These are people who still haven't learned that the reason to wear masks is to protect people from you, not to protect you from others. Hence their confused reactions when the one person who refuses to be kind to others gets met with hostility when they walk into a store loudly announcing their intention to infect others. These are not smart people.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 28 May 2020 @ 5:12pm

        Re: Re:

        • "We chopped off everyone's left hand to prevent a UFO invasion from killing us all!"

        • "Well, I don't think a UFO invasion was going to actu-"

        • "Yes, as I said , we prevented it with our hand chopping!"

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 27 May 2020 @ 7:44pm

      Re:

      Do you have health insurance? Invest in the stock market? Use any kind of safety gear ir devices?

      Or do you live hand-to-mouth, naked in the woods?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 May 2020 @ 8:24am

    America's Penis

    America needs gender reassignment surgery.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 May 2020 @ 9:15am

    Pandemic defined: media driven frenzy over a bad cold

    Maybe reporting all the numbers would clue in the clueless. This article speaks from a position of authority without understanding. Similar to how most feel about Trump. (Still a better choice than Hillary)

    First thing: This will kill you. if you are old or in poor health. if you have comorbidities that make you susceptible, of if you have bad luck. (Wait I have seen this before... Oh yes the Flu)

    The response to this has been an overwhelming S**t show. The administration had a barely conceived plan that was decimated by an overzealous media and very poor models with even worse data. And if someone disagrees we take the democrat approach to looking at others opinions and label them as liars and spreading a false narrative.

    The states that are reopening are doing it for the greater good. A concept lost on the media and the groups that want to socialize the US. Th

    You cannot attach a value to a life. You can say that the future of the epople of this country outweighs a single life.

    If you want to be serious about this look at the leading cause of deaths and work on them

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    • icon
      Toom1275 (profile), 27 May 2020 @ 9:22am

      Re: Pandemic defined: media driven frenzy over a bad cold

      speaks from a position of authority without understanding.

      Classic projection there, considering the pile of disinformation that followed.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 27 May 2020 @ 11:54am

        Re: Re: Pandemic defined: media driven frenzy over a bad cold

        "the pile of disinformation that followed."

        Yup - and a total lack of information about Sweden.
        Sweden actually tried the do nothing approach hoping for herd immunity real fast. Well, it is not working and they now have a much higher death rate then elsewhere,

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 27 May 2020 @ 2:45pm

          Re: Re: Re: Pandemic defined: media driven frenzy over a bad col

          couldnt get herd immunity because it is actually kinda hard to catch

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 27 May 2020 @ 4:05pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Pandemic defined: media driven frenzy over a bad

            gonna need a reference on that

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 29 May 2020 @ 8:15am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Pandemic defined: media driven frenzy over a

              Look it up. their incidence is similar to countries that quarantined heavily. 6 to 7%. Their deaths are higher and I haven't seen anything that points to a specific reason. If the incidence is similar there is something else driving their deaths up.
              It may be how widespread testing is. However it looks like their testing is broad enough that the incidence shouldn't change significantly

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              • icon
                nasch (profile), 29 May 2020 @ 8:47am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Pandemic defined: media driven frenzy ov

                Look it up. their incidence is similar to countries that quarantined heavily.

                The reference requested was for the claim "it is actually kinda hard to catch". Nothing to do with any particular country.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • icon
                PaulT (profile), 30 May 2020 @ 12:09am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Pandemic defined: media driven frenzy ov

                "Their deaths are higher and I haven't seen anything that points to a specific reason"

                Which countries specifically are you thinking of? The reason why Spain and Italy have higher death rates is because they were hit hard and early before lockdown, while countries like South Korea that also quarantined heavily, but before the main pandemic hit them hard, have very low death rates

                Do you have any specific countries in mind, or were you hoping that someone would point out the obvious?

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          • icon
            Wendy Cockcroft (profile), 28 May 2020 @ 8:38am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Pandemic defined: media driven frenzy over a bad

            If that were true we wouldn't be in the middle of a pandemic.

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        • identicon
          Rocky, 27 May 2020 @ 7:20pm

          Re: Re: Re: Pandemic defined: media driven frenzy over a bad col

          Sweden actually tried the do nothing approach hoping for herd immunity real fast. Well, it is not working and they now have a much higher death rate then elsewhere

          As been said again and again, anyone comparing the rates doesn't understand the underlying metrics and how to use them.

          Just let me pose a simple question to see if you understand the basics: The health-care system in Sweden is by all reports coping with all the cases and have about 20% capacity left - so why does it seem like Sweden have a high death-rate?

          If you can answer that question you also will understand why comparing absolute numbers is just plain stupid.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            nasch (profile), 27 May 2020 @ 7:43pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Pandemic defined: media driven frenzy over a bad

            If you can answer that question you also will understand why comparing absolute numbers is just plain stupid.

            Why are you complaining about absolute numbers when he mentioned death rate - not death count?

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              PaulT (profile), 28 May 2020 @ 12:52am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Pandemic defined: media driven frenzy over a

              For the record, the death rate in Sweden is currently 418/million, which places it 8th highest in the world.

              https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/#countries

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            • identicon
              Rocky, 28 May 2020 @ 3:13am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Pandemic defined: media driven frenzy over a

              Why are you complaining about absolute numbers when he mentioned death rate - not death count?

              Because the death-rate is directly derived from absolute numbers that doesn't reflect the number of infected, where in time the spread is, the rate of spread and how the deaths are measured.

              The death-rate is only accurate when the metrics used is number of infected / number of related deaths. Until the infection has spread through the whole population (or herd immunity kicks in), comparing the death-rate that's calculated on the whole population is a bit meaningless since you are comparing metrics that are measured differently due to the fact the numbers are strongly influenced by the measures taken to control the spread, the real number of infected and what is considered to be a COVID-19 related death.

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              • icon
                nasch (profile), 28 May 2020 @ 7:17am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Pandemic defined: media driven frenzy ov

                comparing the death-rate that's calculated on the whole population is a bit meaningless

                It's not the whole picture, but I disagree that it's meaningless. A higher death rate is always worse. The specifics and cause of it can vary, but that's the big picture. If a country takes an action and the death rate goes down, that's good. Maybe mortality was reduced. Maybe transmission was reduced. Maybe hospital services were improved. We can't tell everything about Sweden from the death rate, but we can tell that something is not working as well there compared to otherwise similar European countries because their death rate is much higher.

                what is considered to be a COVID-19 related death.

                Yes, what I said assumes a consistent standard for measuring deaths. If you don't have that, then there is no point in comparing numbers.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • identicon
                  Rocky, 28 May 2020 @ 12:28pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Pandemic defined: media driven frenz

                  No, a higher death-rate isn't necessarily worse. You are totally missing the point, the death-rate is entirely due to a couple of factors, and total population isn't really one of them.

                  If you have an extremely effective lockdown and only a low percentage of the population gets infected you get a very low number for the death-rate.

                  If you have very poor lockdown a higher percentage will be infected which means a higher death-rate.

                  If you have very poor lockdown in conjunction with a health-care system that can't cope, you will get even higher rates.

                  Now answer me this: Are the rates above dependent on population size or the number of infected?

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                  • icon
                    nasch (profile), 28 May 2020 @ 12:44pm

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Pandemic defined: media driven f

                    No, a higher death-rate isn't necessarily worse.

                    Under what circumstances would it be better?

                    If you have an extremely effective lockdown and only a low percentage of the population gets infected you get a very low number for the death-rate.

                    Which is good.

                    If you have very poor lockdown a higher percentage will be infected which means a higher death-rate.

                    And that would be worse.

                    If you have very poor lockdown in conjunction with a health-care system that can't cope, you will get even higher rates.

                    Which is even worse.

                    Now answer me this: Are the rates above dependent on population size or the number of infected?

                    Both, since the number of infected depends on the population size and the rate of infection.

                    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                    • identicon
                      Rocky, 28 May 2020 @ 4:57pm

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Pandemic defined: media driv

                      Both, since the number of infected depends on the population size and the rate of infection.

                      If that's your position, then it follows that the death-rate must be different for every country according to their population size if everything else is the same.

                      Does that sound plausible to you? I'm afraid you haven't thought this through to it's logical conclusion.

                      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                      • icon
                        nasch (profile), 28 May 2020 @ 6:35pm

                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Pandemic defined: media

                        If that's your position, then it follows that the death-rate must be different for every country according to their population size if everything else is the same.

                        No, because it's a rate. If everything else is the same, death rate will be the same too, and death count will vary with population.

                        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                        • identicon
                          Rocky, 29 May 2020 @ 1:45am

                          Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Pandemic defined: me

                          You are contradicting yourself. The question I asked was Are the rates above dependent on population size or the number of infected? and you answered:

                          Both, since the number of infected depends on the population size and the rate of infection.

                          The death-rate is dependent on 3 major metrics (and a bunch of minor ones like age and pre-existing conditions): the number of infected, the lethality of the virus and the availability to healthcare - population size doesn't really matter which was my original point.

                          The only time the population size will matter in this context is after the pandemic has passed.

                          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                          • icon
                            nasch (profile), 29 May 2020 @ 7:29am

                            Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Pandemic defined

                            It looks to me like your original point was that death rate doesn't matter. You also haven't explained how a higher death rate can be a better outcome. I would be very interested to hear about that.

                            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                            • identicon
                              Rocky, 30 May 2020 @ 8:03am

                              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Pandemic def

                              The original premise was that the death-rate is based on population-size, which doesn't really give you a metric that's usable in any practical sense (until the pandemic is over).

                              And you are wondering why a higher death-rate in the above context can be better, it's very simple: If you have a high percentage of infected together with a healthcare system that can handle it you will get a higher rate than a country with very few cases. In the first instance you allow the pandemic to spread in a controlled fashion which means it will be over faster, the second instance means the infection will linger for a very long time in the population.

                              Regardless, everything else being equal in the two scenarios above - the percentage of people dying who has been infected should be the same, it's just that a country who "optimizes" the handling of the pandemic will have a seemingly higher rate per pop than a country who have a tight lockdown until it's over.

                              This is basic stuff, I don't understand why people don't get it.

                              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                              • icon
                                nasch (profile), 30 May 2020 @ 12:51pm

                                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Pandemic

                                Perhaps some confusion is over what is in the denominator of death rate - population or infected. Which do you mean?

                                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                                • identicon
                                  Rocky, 30 May 2020 @ 1:06pm

                                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Pand

                                  The numbers people are throwing around is usually deaths per 1M pop, which means a higher number only indicates that more people are infected.

                                  The rate that matters is deaths per infected, which reflects all the important metrics. There are 2 problems though, one is that we don't have good graps on how many are infected in an population, mostly due to insufficient tests and the other is countries vary in what they consider to be a death due to COVID-19.

                                  Regardless, the deaths per infected much better reflect how a country copes with the pandemic than deaths per 1M pop.

                                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                                  • icon
                                    nasch (profile), 30 May 2020 @ 1:23pm

                                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                                    Regardless, the deaths per infected much better reflect how a country copes with the pandemic than deaths per 1M pop.

                                    Seems they're just measuring different things, so it depends what you want to know. Deaths per infected tells you how well the cases are being managed, and how lethal it is, but says nothing about how much it's spreading. Deaths per million people gives you a better sense of how likely you are to die from it, because without the rate of infection you can't get that just from deaths per infected.

                                    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                                  • icon
                                    PaulT (profile), 30 May 2020 @ 11:26pm

                                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                                    "which means a higher number only indicates that more people are infected"

                                    No, it doesn't. For example, (as of now, 8:25am CET on 31/05) Spain has 27,125 dead from 286,308 infected, yet the UK has 38,376 dead from 272,826 infected. Yet, the death/1M figures are 580 for Spain and only 566 for the UK. That's the reverse of what you just claimed.

                                    "insufficient tests and the other is countries vary in what they consider to be a death due to COVID-19"

                                    On top of that, some countries are clearly providing inaccurate numbers - you'd have to be really dumb to be taking the figures from China and Russia at face value. The real figures will take a long time to come out, as the urgency of this situation is guaranteed to be causing some mistakes and misreporting in the short term.

                                    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                                    • identicon
                                      Rocky, 31 May 2020 @ 10:17am

                                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                                      Paul, your second statement about inaccurate reporting also makes your first statement inaccurate.

                                      There's a direct relationship between the real number of infected and COVID-19 deaths, there is no such direct relationship for population size until the pandemic is over. That's why I'm saying that the numbers you are comparing can't really be compared.

                                      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                                      • icon
                                        PaulT (profile), 31 May 2020 @ 9:35pm

                                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                                        "Paul, your second statement about inaccurate reporting also makes your first statement inaccurate."

                                        No, it means that the countries I mentioned have far more trustworthy reporting than the ones I mentioned which do not.

                                        All said, this is an ongoing situation for which we will not have all the facts confirmed for a long time. Even under normal circumstances, correct determinations of deaths can take some time, and concerns over testing numbers and accuracy also introduce some inaccuracies. With current pressures, there will be some noise in the data until after the dust is settled.

                                        Having said that, general trends are visible from those countries over whom there is no reason to suspect is lying about their figures, and the fact is that these numbers are saying the opposite of what you believe they should. The trends are what's important here, not the raw figures.

                                        "That's why I'm saying that the numbers you are comparing can't really be compared."

                                        ...and by your standards, neither can the ones you insist of comparing. If you admit that we cannot trust some death reporting, then we sure as hell can't trust the reporting of infection, so your own referred deaths per infection number is also questionable. Between the two, the per 1M figures are therefore preferable, since at least we know accurate population data, whereas in per infected both figures are suspect.

                                        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                                        • identicon
                                          Rocky, 1 Jun 2020 @ 3:13am

                                          Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                                          I have never said that infected/deaths was 100% accurate, I've said it was a much relevant number when comparing how countries cope.

                                          The 1M figures isn't preferable since they aren't relevant at this time due to the fact that the whole population isn't infected. That number will always trend upwards until the pandemic is over, and it can't be compared since it's dependent on a multitude of underlying factors.

                                          If you are interested in how big a percentage of infected actually dies, why use a number that doesn't tell you that? If you want to use that number and the expected mortality from COVID-19 is for example 1%, then 1% of the population must die for the numbers to be relevant - regardless how many actually get infected in the end.

                                          Regardless of the inaccuracies in the reported metrics, if we disregard the outliers where it's obvious that the data doesn't reflect reality - that doesn't invalidate that the rate of infected/death is far more accurate than population/death.

                                          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                                          • icon
                                            PaulT (profile), 1 Jun 2020 @ 3:48am

                                            Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                                            "If you are interested in how big a percentage of infected actually dies, why use a number that doesn't tell you that?"

                                            Because it's the best we've got. Due to poor testing, both in quality and number, and the likely number of asymptomatic cases who won't have been tested at all, it will be a long time before we have an accurate representation of the number of infected. So, we use the number we know are as accurate as possible, which is population.

                                            "If you want to use that number and the expected mortality from COVID-19 is for example 1%, then 1% of the population must die for the numbers to be relevant"

                                            No. If everyone's working with the same handicap, then we can account for that. If we're introducing the idea that both figures used in the comparison are likely to be wrong, they're useless. The real figure we're interested in is trends, and it's more useful to use the 1M figure for that at the moment until we can be confident about other data.

                                            "that doesn't invalidate that the rate of infected/death is far more accurate than population/death."

                                            Long term, when accurate figures are available for both infected and dead, sure. Right now, when we're balancing different testing and reporting standards and trying to make real time decisions based on the best information available? No. All it takes is a bad batch of tests or an unknown cluster of asymptomatic carriers to skew decisions, whereas population trends give better indications. Not ideal, but better than the alternative.

                                            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                                            • identicon
                                              Rocky, 1 Jun 2020 @ 6:58am

                                              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                                              All it takes is a bad batch of tests or an unknown cluster of asymptomatic carriers to skew decisions, whereas population trends give better indications. Not ideal, but better than the alternative.

                                              Better indication of what? That a larger population means higher numbers or that more infected means higher numbers?

                                              Can we agree on that if you aren't infected you can't die from COVID-19? By including the whole population you skew the numbers in such a way that they don't represent how a country handles those who have been infected.

                                              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                                              • icon
                                                PaulT (profile), 1 Jun 2020 @ 7:13am

                                                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                                                "Better indication of what? That a larger population means higher numbers or that more infected means higher numbers?"

                                                That a trend toward more deaths per capita means there's more of a problem. Whether that means infected are undercounted or dead are overcounted is an issue for later.

                                                "Can we agree on that if you aren't infected you can't die from COVID-19?"

                                                Yes, just as if you're not infected by smallpox you won't die from it. That doesn't mean that tracking smallpox deaths was a bad thing to do.

                                                Also, it's not about you. Asymptomatic infections are still a thing. Your selfish ass might have escaped both detection and symptoms but you still infected others. When you can't correctly identify the infected, how do you know the dead aren't coming?

                                                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                                                • identicon
                                                  Rocky, 1 Jun 2020 @ 8:40am

                                                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                                                  That a trend toward more deaths per capita means there's more of a problem. Whether that means infected are undercounted or dead are overcounted is an issue for later.

                                                  That's not given, it can also mean that every metric is totally accurate but the infection is spreading which increases the 1M pop/death ratio but the infected/death ratio stays the same.

                                                  Paul, go read up on why CMR (Crude Mortality Rate, ie 1M pop/death) isn't a usable number during a pandemic. See https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/coronavirus-death-rate/ under the header Herd Immunity and final Crude Mortality Rate

                                                  Just slightly above that you have a blurb about IFR (Infection Fatality Risk, what I'm talking about), and somewhere else the defintion of CFR (Case Fatility Risk) is also mentioned.

                                                  BBC also has a good article about the different rates: https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20200401-coronavirus-why-death-and-mortality-rates-differ

                                                  The only way 1M pop/death is somewhat usable is to look at curve of the trend to roughly estimate how the mitigation of the spread is working.

                                                  Also, it's not about you. Asymptomatic infections are still a thing. Your selfish ass might have escaped both detection and symptoms but you still infected others. When you can't correctly identify the infected, how do you know the dead aren't coming?

                                                  Which isn't relevant to what I'm saying since the lethality of the virus doesn't change dependent on how you measure asymptomatic or symptomatic cases. Unless you think the virus somehow gains lethality proportionally to population size?

                                                  Just let me ask a very simple question: Does the current 1M pop/death-rate accurately describe a persons chance of dying if they get infected with COVID-19?

                                                  If your answer is no, then the number isn't really relevant.

                                                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                                                  • icon
                                                    PaulT (profile), 1 Jun 2020 @ 10:11pm

                                                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                                                    "That's not given, it can also mean that every metric is totally accurate"

                                                    It can, but we know for sure that neither the infection nor the death figures are totally accurate at this moment in time.

                                                    "Paul, go read up on why CMR (Crude Mortality Rate, ie 1M pop/death) isn't a usable number during a pandemic. "

                                                    So, given that we know that neither infection nor death figures are totally accurate, which figure is best to use instead?

                                                    "Which isn't relevant to what I'm saying since the lethality of the virus doesn't change dependent on how you measure asymptomatic or symptomatic cases."

                                                    No, it's not. However, it does mean that infection number are not going to be accurate, and will possibly be completely misleading.

                                                    "Does the current 1M pop/death-rate accurately describe a persons chance of dying if they get infected with COVID-19?"

                                                    No, but the trends of that data give a reasonable idea of how well the measures in each country are affecting it. The whole thing we're trying to work out is how the measures in each country are affecting the outcome, and deaths/1M is more useful than raw death or infection figures.

                                                    I know what you're trying to say here, my point is simply that since infection figures are a) known to be inaccurate and b) may be so inaccurate that they're exponentially wrong until we can measure asymptomatic cases, that they're not going to give more accurate figures than per capita/1M, and that's even before you start considering the countries known to be outright lying about infections.

                                                    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 27 May 2020 @ 9:53am

      Re: Pandemic defined: media driven frenzy over a bad cold

      First thing: This will kill you. if you are old or in poor health. if you have comorbidities that make you susceptible, of if you have bad luck. (Wait I have seen this before... Oh yes the Flu)

      Only with Covid-19, the risks are magnified by almost an order of magnitude.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 27 May 2020 @ 2:39pm

        Re: Re: Pandemic defined: media driven frenzy over a bad cold

        Wrong. Incidence and mortality are similar to flu

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 27 May 2020 @ 3:34pm

          Re: Re: Re: Pandemic defined: media driven frenzy over a bad col

          Then why did New York have to get out refrigerated vans as temporary morgues, and bury people in mass graves?

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 28 May 2020 @ 12:15pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Pandemic defined: media driven frenzy over a bad

            The morgue bit is a good rebuttal, but the mass grave bit isn't. There have been over a million people buried in that "mass grave" over the last 150 years. It's just what New York does with unclaimed bodies. There are more of them, yes, but it's not new.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 27 May 2020 @ 4:07pm

          Re: Re: Re: Pandemic defined: media driven frenzy over a bad col

          "Wrong. Incidence and mortality are similar to flu"

          All I have read state that covid has a much higher mortality, perhaps you have something to read up on this?

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 29 May 2020 @ 8:17am

          Re: Re: Re: Pandemic defined: media driven frenzy over a bad col

          Yeah i got flagged for looking at numbers and stating something different to the accepted norm based no models that were crap

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            Toom1275 (profile), 29 May 2020 @ 8:31am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Pandemic defined: media driven frenzy over a bad

            [Asseets facts not in evidence]

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            PaulT (profile), 30 May 2020 @ 12:11am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Pandemic defined: media driven frenzy over a bad

            "Yeah i got flagged for looking at numbers and stating something different to the accepted norm based no models that were crap"

            Did you provide any evidence for that claim? That usually makes the difference. people coming in here and going "I have no citations or qualifications but I like this already disproven theory" do tend to be flagged as liars.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 27 May 2020 @ 10:02am

      Re: Pandemic defined: media driven frenzy over a bad cold

      Oh yes the Flu

      Don't be a idiot. Before this wave of coronavirus is done it will have at least 1000% the fatalities of annual flu. And, like the flu, it will keep coming back every year, still killing 10 times the number of people flu does.

      If you really believe flu and COVID-19 you're either ill-informed or misinformed. Of course there is still the possibility that you're just incredibly stupid.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 27 May 2020 @ 10:08am

      Re: Pandemic defined: media driven frenzy over a bad cold

      The administration had a barely conceived plan that was decimated by an overzealous media and very poor models with even worse data.

      When your plan amounts to "the cases are going to fall to zero" or "it's going to magically disappear" the fault in that useless pile of shit being decimated is not the media.

      It's because the president is a fucking idiot. That's not the media's fault - he speaks, looks like a fool, and the media reports on it.

      Or is this another "who knew that being a leader during a pandemic was complicated?"

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 27 May 2020 @ 2:43pm

        Re: Re: Pandemic defined: media driven frenzy over a bad cold

        Trump is clueless no doubt but the media pushed the frenzy.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 27 May 2020 @ 7:51pm

        Re: Re: Pandemic defined: media driven frenzy over a bad cold

        You forgot "fire people who actually know how to handle things and have the completely unqualified political appointees make decisions".

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 27 May 2020 @ 11:13am

      Re: Pandemic defined: media driven frenzy over a bad cold

      The flu killed an average of 35k-37k people per year in the US from 2010 to now (CDC, range depends if you use preliminary numbers).

      COVID-19 has killed 101k people in the US in three months.

      If you think COVID-19 is like the flu you're a fucking moron (sorry pegr) there's no way around it. Those who want to remove restrictions due to economic meanings, this says more about their lack of morals than their intelligence. Don't worry, you fail both tests.

      You say "You cannot attach a value to a life." This seems to indicate that you think life has no value.

      Other causes of death are being worked on. Your lot would complain their rights are being infringed because they can't have a picnic in a Superfund site.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 27 May 2020 @ 11:58am

      Re: Pandemic defined: media driven frenzy over a bad cold

      "for the greater good"

      Whose greater good? I think you know the answer.
      And why is this greater good you talk about so good for the select few that it is good for?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Toom1275 (profile), 27 May 2020 @ 9:34am

    And look at this graph put out Georgia's State government, and pay close attention to the order of the county bars and the dates on the x-axis.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 27 May 2020 @ 10:24am

    'Who cares about lives, there's money out there being unspent!'

    Well, nice of them to out themselves as caring more about creating a temporary spike in cashflow than lives, just a pity it will be shortly followed by a spike in fatalities as the second wave hits and impacts the idiots too impatient or to stupid to understand that something with a body count reaching one hundred thousand in the US alone can kill them and their families too.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    mcherm (profile), 27 May 2020 @ 11:56am

    Inappropriate Attacks in the Article

    Look, write article. It's an important topic. However, please just leave out lines like this:

    Florida has lots of sunny beaches that are currently too empty to satisfy sun junkies who wish to take advantage of the lengthy shorelines contained in America's Penis.

    I should think TechDirt would more respect than that for the subject, for the people of the state, and for basic principles of journalism. It also isn't an approach that will actually reach people. Tim, I expect better from you.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    dickeyrat, 28 May 2020 @ 4:59am

    Florida. Amerika's penis.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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