Florida Scientist Fired; Won't Manipulate Testing Data

chisue

AP reports: "In Florida, the data scientist who developed the state's coronavirus dashboard, Rebekah Jones, said this week she was fired for refusing to manipulate data 'to drum up support for the plan to reopen'."

This from the Chicago Tribune May 20, story headed: Numbers don't lie -- or they might Also in the story:


Georgia was cited as manipulating the posting of virus cases to indicate declines by rearranging daily reports in decending order of cases, not ordering them chronologically. That graph was later removed.

Some states, including Texas, are combining numbers of swab tests with antibody tests. In Georgia, new cases are listed by the date a patient reported symptoms, not the date a test came out positive. This shifts the outbreak timeline to appear that the state is moving past the peak.

Science doesn't lie, but statistics can be manipulated. Just another way to sow distrust in America.

SaveComment20Like2
Comments (20)
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
lurker111

Science doesn't lie,

But the internet does. So do scientists.

Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Joaniepoanie

So do politicians, who ‘need’ the stats to say what they want them to say.

2 Likes Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
adoptedbyhounds

The OP didn't provide a link to her article, but I will provide one with mine.

With no link, readers may fail to get as complete a picture as they would get from reading the full article themselves.

This employee had done some excellent work, but was fired for insubordination.

FTA: Jones had previously been pursuing a doctoral degree in geography at Florida State University, where she was enrolled from the fall of 2016 through the spring of 2018. While there, a romantic relationship between Jones and a former student turned contentious and she currently faces a criminal stalking charge that is awaiting trial next month.

Jones did not respond to requests for comment about the charge, or about her employment status at the Department of Health.

https://www.miamiherald.com/news/coronavirus/article242851256.html

Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
mr1010

DeSantis is taking a page from Trumps Operation's Manual that states if they won't lie for you and make you look good, get rid of them.

The fudging of the statistics in Florida has be wrought with deception since the first cases were reported. In fact the first deaths were delayed being reported as the

patients died before being tested and there was a squabble even testing them and reporting.

And remember initially way back in March, DeSantis refused to discuss with reporters where the cases were in Florida and the actual number of cases and said it was protected information due to an old Florida Law. It was Hogwash and several newspapers sued to force him to start releasing the information.

DeSantis has clearly tried to manipulate facts since day 1 of Covid 19. The people of Florida have watched this daily.

Now he's trying to smear the reputation of this woman he had fired and calling it insubordination. I hope she sues and files a whistleblower complaint.

Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
carolb_w_fl_coastal_9b(zone 9/10)

https://health.wusf.usf.edu/post/researchers-lawmakers-demand-answers-after-state-ousts-covid-19-data-manager

"...Collins said Jones was always good about communicating with researchers who had questions about evolving data or technical issues with obtaining it.

That's why she was confused when researchers received an email from Jones on May 6 that said she was taking a long vacation after working “64 days straight with no day off,” and that furthermore, “the GIS office no longer manages or maintains the dashboard.”

Jones would later go on to confirm that she was relieved from her dashboard duties a day earlier on May 5.

Within days of receiving that email, Collins said the state dashboard crashed and researchers began experiencing a number of problems trying to pull data.

“All of us were emailing everybody we knew, like, ‘What's going on?’, because we've got major research projects that are also relying on this data as well, it's not just our hub at USF, it's other researchers using our daily data in particular that we're pulling in,” Collins explained.

Collins said she eventually heard back from the state that the Florida Department of Emergency Management had taken over the dashboard and they were working on the glitches, but it still wasn't clear what happened with Jones....

...This week Jones told CBS-12 in West Palm Beach she was fired from the health department after she refused to "manually change data to drum up support for the plan to reopen."

And the Tampa Bay Times obtained state emails from the beginning of the month that seem to show department workers asking Jones to do things with data she didn't agree with.

According to the Times, the emails involve department staff asking Jones to remove records showing people had COVID-19 symptoms or positive tests before the cases were announced. Jones complied, but told supervisors it was “the wrong call.”..."

1 Like Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
paprikash

Sounds like firing her was a good call:


The state has released its own statement about the matter, offering a different characterization of Jones' removal. The state's statement reads in part:

"Rebekah Jones exhibited a repeated course of insubordination during her time with the Department, including her unilateral decisions to modify the Department’s COVID-19 dashboard without input or approval from the epidemiological team or her supervisors. The blatant disrespect for the professionals who were working around the clock to provide the important information for the COVID-19 website was harmful to the team.

Accuracy and transparency are always indispensable, especially during an unprecedented public health emergency such as COVID-19. Having someone disruptive cannot be tolerated during this public pandemic, which led the Department to determine that it was best to terminate her employment."

Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
studio10001

Funny, De Santis said she had ben terminated because she needed to rest. , Then he said she was fired because of the stalking charges. Now she is fired for being insubordinate. Boy, I hope he has HR disciplinary writeups to back whichever one of those claims he decides to go with next presser.

4 Likes Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
heri_cles

Thank you for your OP Chisue.

I think we have to wait to see the rest of the emails, but from the reporting I have read on this so far, it seems like there may be something to her allegations. If a public official asked her to reduce access to Covid-19 data, that would be a serious charge.

https://www.floridatoday.com/story/news/2020/05/19/florida-scientist-refused-manipulate-covid-19-data-and-fired/5219137002/


Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
abzzybee(9/10 S. Florida)

Given it's Desantis who's as far up Trump's nether region as can be and who's been warp speeding rhe reopening of the entire state I'm inclined to believe the lady. Then there is the issue of the suppression of death certificates the coroners being told to not publish or record them, I'm pretty sure this was done by Desantis to skew the figures so reopening can go warp speed in Florida.

1 Like Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
lurker111

Boy, I hope he has HR disciplinary writeups to back whichever one of those claims he decides to go with next presser.

Probably all of them, and more.

"Rebekah Jones exhibited a repeated course of insubordination during
her time with the Department,
including her unilateral decisions to
modify the Department’s COVID-19 dashboard without input or approval

from the epidemiological team or her supervisors.

Her story falls apart.^^^

2 Likes Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
abzzybee(9/10 S. Florida)

State vs. Individual, in this instance it's suspect given the shenanigans with the manipulation of the coroners reporting of deaths.

1 Like Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
lurker111

Internet gossip. ^^^

Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
paprikash

Claim #3: Rebekah Jones was asked to manipulate data to support the governor’s plan to reopen Florida

The truth: Jones was asked to temporarily disable the ability to export data from the dashboard so that it could be verified that the data matched other sources.

We previously gave credit to the Tampa Bay Times for accurately describing Jones’ role in managing the COVID-19 dashboard. They also accurately describe events leading to Jones termination. Don’t misunderstand – the Times is still guilty of trying to make Jones a martyr. Take a look at how they describe what happened:

[On May 4th] the [EventDate] column vanished from the “Person Cases” data, which lists anonymized records for every confirmed case in Florida. The Palm Beach Post reported the disappearance the next day, May 5.

The Tampa Bay Times automatically checks for changes in the data and archives new updates. Shortly before 10:12 a.m on May 4., data still included the EventDate field, showing records with listed dates that people reported symptoms as early as January 1. By 3:02 p.m., the column was gone.

For much of the next day, May 5, the column was either missing or empty, with every row listing “None.” Finally, it returned shortly before 8:02 p.m.

If you’re struggling to see what all the fuss is about, you’re not alone. By the Timesown account, a single column of data became temporarily unavailable for a day and a half. The only other item worthy of note in the Times’ story is that the state’s official epidemiologist (i.e. an actual medical scientist, not a data mapper, like Jones) asked to have the ability to export data from the dashboard temporarily disabled while health officials verify that the dates match other official sources.

This is critical. The Tampa Bay Times had the full explanation for why the data was temporarily unavailable, but they and other media outlets decided to run with “coronavirus conspiracy” instead. In fact, the Times headline claims Jones was asked to “delete” data. No where in the story itself does the word “delete” appear. It’s another clickbait headline.


1 Like Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
deegw

Link to the entire article referenced above. The comment omitted some of the article and provided no link.

https://tallahasseereports.com/2020/05/20/rebekah-jones-firing-is-the-covid-clickbait-the-media-dreams-of-but-its-all-fake/

-------------------------------

From the article comments:

The author makes claims about what Ms. Jones was asked to do, and it doesn’t comport with what Ms. Jones is claiming. The article provides no proof, sources, or quotes from persons who would have firsthand knowledge as to what Ms. Jones was or was not asked to do. It merely parrots a PR statement issued by the Governor’s office, who is clearly, you know, doing PR. That’s the point. This isn’t investigative journalism. It’s a hit piece.

1 Like Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
paprikash

If DeSantis’ people should be criticized, it should be why the heck she was ever hired.

1 Like Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
studio10001

So far, I don't see incompatibility between their claims and hers, so her story holds. They say verify and she says tamper - easily two sides of a coin. The only way her story 'falls apart' is if they kept a paper trail of formal admonishments leading to her firing that speak clearly of something not related to requests to change data.

I will re itierate here that Fl lost 1500 cases off their dashboard a few days ago. No explanation given.

2 Likes Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
mr1010

And 33,000 Fl. Covid 19 tests were deemed to be false negatives after submitted to lab.

Now Fl. is playing catch up, supposedly, trying to rectify the situation.

DeSantis has proven "You Don't Send A Boy to Do a Man's Job".

His management and organization skills were ZILCH. Still are. He was a jock with a

law degree, nothing else. Perfect recipe that other men love.


1 Like Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
studio10001

What bit did you think you should have heard about before it happened?

Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
abzzybee(9/10 S. Florida)

@ lurker my comment about the coroners being basically muzzled is not internet gossip.

https://www.cnn.com/2020/04/29/politics/florida-coronavirus-death-figures-withheld/index.html

Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
numbersjunkie

she's apparently going to testify next week.

Save    
Browse Gardening and Landscaping Stories on Houzz See all Stories
Data Watch White Cabinets Remain at the Top of Kitchen Wish Lists
Find out the most popular countertop, flooring, cabinet, backsplash and paint picks among homeowners who are renovating
Full Story
Data Watch Here’s Why Kitchen and Bath Renovations Are Costing More
The 2019 U.S. Houzz & Home report shows that costs have steadily risen in recent years, a trend expected to continue
Full Story
Data Watch Houzz Survey: See the Latest Benchmarks on Remodeling Costs and More
The annual Houzz & Home survey reveals what you can expect to pay for a renovation project and how long it may take
Full Story