Florida COVID numbers face new scrutiny

Washington — New research Published earlier this month In the American Journal of Public Health, Florida underestimates the number of people who died in COVID-19 by thousands, renewing the claim that Governor Ron DeSantis successfully survived the coronavirus pandemic. Is throwing.

Conservatives celebrate DeSantis for his treatment of a pandemic that killed more than 30,000 inhabitants of the state. Critic Meanwhile, the Governor of Combat’s opinion says that many of those deaths would have been prevented if he had listened more enthusiastically to health professionals. DeSantis resisted blockades, downplayed masks, and made it increasingly difficult for local governments to take their own public health measures.

And the state May be at the tip Of the new coronavirus surge.

On June 10, 2020, South Beach reopened in Miami Beach, Florida, USA, with restrictions limiting the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19).Reuters / Marco Bello

People on the beach in Miami Beach, Florida in June 2020. (MarcoBello / Reuters)

The impact of the pandemic in Florida is “significantly greater than the official COVID-19 data suggest,” the researchers write. They came to that conclusion by comparing the estimated number of deaths during the six months from March to September 2020 with the actual number of deaths. This is called “excessive death” because it exceeds estimates.

there were 400,000 excess deaths Throughout the United States in 2020, spikes were closely correlated with the coronavirus pandemic.

The lack of early pandemic testing may also underestimate the death of COVID-19, explains Daniel Weinberger, an epidemiologist at the School of Public Health. Studying coronavirus and excess mortality..

The problem was even more complicated. Each state has its own mortality methodology.. “In some states, a positive molecular test categorizes death as COVID, but in others, if COVID is suspected to be the cause (even without a molecular test). , Deaths can be categorized as due to COVID. Weinberger emailed Yahoo News.

The polymerase chain reaction test (another name for the molecular test referenced by Weinberger) is performed by humans. dead Or alive, infected with a coronavirus.

In Florida, the over-death of 4,924 people should have been counted as due to COVID-19, but in most cases it was determined that something else was the cause, reducing the number of deaths from the Florida coronavirus. .. It’s possible because some people die from COVID-19 Often there are comorbidities, Diabetes and asthma. It leaves some discretion to the medical examiner, who sometimes suffers from contradictory science and has been exposed to political pressure during the pandemic.

In Florida, 25 district inspectors of the state are appointed directly by the Governor.Last spring, the Desantis administration Accused Attempts to prevent those inspectors from disclosing complete coronavirus data. (In August, the state announced death from the coronavirus No longer needed Certification from the inspector general. )

On March 21, 2021, the crowd played violently on the street while speakers were blowing music one hour after the curfew in Miami Beach, Florida.  (Daniel A. Valera / Miami Herald, via AP)

The crowd will rebelliously party on the streets on March 21, past the curfew in Miami Beach, Florida.

“I’m convinced that COVID-19 is responsible for most of these over-deaths,” says Musatatar, a public health economist at the University of Utah, who led a research team investigating over-deaths in Florida. He said the governor chose to focus on Florida because it was quick to lift restrictions in Florida.The move was widely criticized for being reckless Some believe he has been proven Due to the fact that the states that continued to blockade in spring and autumn did not always give better results than Florida.

The DeSantis administration did not respond to requests for comment.

Already in Florida The total number of deaths is the fourth highest Domestically from COVID-19, but it’s also The second most populous state in the country.. It is the second most populous country in the United States, a key contributor to pandemics, and tends to affect older people more seriously than young people.

The state pandemic response debate is largely a substitute for a broader debate about how effective limits were in stopping the disease.

Donald Trump, who opposed the restrictions despite his own government enforcing the restrictions, is now a resident of Florida. DeSantis is Trump’s political disciple with his own presidential ambitions.He recently Beaten up President Biden as “Rockdowner”. The president did not try to “blockade” Florida, but his administration has recently expressed concern about the spring break crowd partying without masks. This seems to be driving a succession of new infectious diseases It is in a state.

Governor of Florida Ron DeSantis spoke at a press conference in the aviation hangar of Augery High School in Melbourne, Florida on March 22, 2021.  (Light rocket via Paul Hennessy / SOPA Images / Getty Images)

Florida Governor Rondesantis (Light Rocket via Paul Hennessy / SOPA Images / Getty Images) at a press conference in Melbourne, Florida on March 22

The Tatars’ findings are not universally accepted.Lauren Rossen, statistician at the National Center for Health Statistics, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Those who analyzed excess mortality, Yahoo News told Yahoo News that there was nothing exceptionally suspicious of the state’s over-deaths.

“Florida doesn’t stand out to me,” she said.

Other critics of the Tatar findings have treated the pandemic with some successes and failures, although Florida is neither a brilliant success nor an unmitigated disaster, and excess mortality data reflects its mixed record. Said.

Jason Salemi, an associate professor of epidemiology at the University of South Florida, told Yahoo News that it was wrong to attribute all excessive deaths during the period of the problem directly to those infected with the coronavirus. .. While the pandemic surged and hospitals were filled with COVID-19 patients, infected individuals may still be afraid to seek treatment for other conditions.

“I’ve never been infected with the coronavirus, delayed the medical care I needed, and died of diabetes-related complications, which is still indirectly linked to a pandemic,” Salemi told Yahoo News, for all causes. He described Florida’s statistics on pandemics and coronaviruses as “halfway.”

According to the CDC, the excess mortality rate in 2020 was 21% nationwide. In Florida, a 15.5 percent excess mortality rate was seen during the period surveyed by the Tatars.California’s excess mortality rate Also 15 percentDespite its governor, Gavin Newsom, he has enacted far stricter restrictions than Florida’s Desantis.

Salemi Run a Florida-focused coronavirus dashboard Talk frequently with state epidemiologists. “I don’t think there’s anything terrible about the data,” he told Yahoo News. “I know. I always use these data.”

Yale University epidemiologist Weinberger also said his analysis showed that the “gap” between COVID-19 in Florida and excess mortality was nearly average.

The question is not whether deaths have occurred, but how the state counted deaths.Survey conducted by Andrew Stokes of Boston University is showing Excessive deaths are unlikely to be caused by the coronavirus in Trump-supported areas of countries where elected civil servants tended to take pandemics less seriously.

Stokes tells Yahoo News that the United States also applies to Florida, and in democratic counties such as Miami-Dade, Osceola, and Hillsboro, all or nearly all excess deaths tend to be reported as COVID-19 deaths. Said there was. In contrast, most of the counties (Franklin, Wakra, Taylor, Samter) that were particularly underreported for COVID-19 deaths are Republican homes.

“There are many regional differences within Florida,” Stokes said in an interview, “a pattern of underreporting.” This contradicts what CDC statistician Rossen told Yahoo News.

These underlying patterns can explain why the state mean numbers provoke such significantly different reactions. As Salemi said, the state as a whole looks good, but the average, more detailed data suggest a real discrepancy.

In other words, the diligent coronavirus reports in the Democratic section of the state may have been compensated by underreporting from the Republican region.

The Miami-Dade Medical Examiner office transports the bodies and performs an autopsy. You are also responsible for approving the death certificate of the victim of the coronavirus.  (John VanBeekum / Miami Herald / Tribune News Service via Getty Images)

The Miami-Dade County Medical Inspector Department will transport the body and perform an autopsy. You are also responsible for approving the death certificate of the victim of the coronavirus. (John VanBeekum / Miami Herald / Tribune News Service via Getty Images)

DeSantis had a personal struggle to contrast favorably with New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. Accusation Hide the number of deaths in nursing homes. However, he also garnered his own criticism for a feud with a data scientist who was dismissed after accusing him of manipulating the data.Politics Opponent named him “Death Santis” They alleged reckless carelessness to a nation full of older people and other vulnerable people.

Political debates about how governors, including Cuomo and Desantis, treated the coronavirus, all states, red or blue, suddenly deal with pathogens that challenged American society at all levels. It is none other than the fact that I noticed that.

And by changing Washington’s guidance on how to deal with pandemics, the uncertainty associated with confronting new illnesses has been exacerbated.Public health experts believe in clearer and more decisive leadership by the Trump administration I was able to prevent Hundreds of thousands of unnecessary deaths.

“Overall, COVID-19 was the third leading cause of death in the United States in 2020,” says Johns Hopkins epidemiologist Justin Lessler.Pandemic Was topping Only by heart disease and cancer. “Given that it didn’t exist at the beginning of the year, this would be a nuisance for everyone.”


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