US states publish less data as pressure mounts to reopen


In late May, Florida fired Rebekah Jones, its geographic information system manager and architect of the state’s COVID-19 data and surveillance dashboard. The dashboard was praised on TV two weeks earlier by Deborah Birx, the coronavirus response coordinator for the White House Coronavirus Task Force for its accessibility and transparency. A spokeswoman for Florida governor Ron DeSantis blamed Jones’s firing on “insubordination”. A week before, across the state line in Atlanta, Georgia, the major hospital network Grady Health Systems announced that the data dashboard telemedicine workers used to track cases of COVID-19 was being taken over by a new team of cybersecurity experts with a longstanding relationship with the Department of Health and Human Services and its in-house IT department was being let go after two decades of managing the network’ security. The two events taken together suggest the possibility of a broader national effort to suppress reliable and transparent information about coronavirus cases as pressure mounts to reopen.

Writer: Raul Diego
Publication: Mint Press News