Florida state officials have blocked medical examiners from releasing coronavirus death totals after it was found the examiners’ death count was 10% higher than the state said it was.
The list of deaths, which had been released in real time by the state’s Medical Examiners Commission, is no longer being published after the Florida Department of Health intervened, the Tampa Bay Times reported. The vital data, which includes demographic information and probable cause of death, has now been withheld for the last 11 days.
A spokesman for the health department told the Times that there had been discussions within government agencies about “privacy concerns” for the dead. But while the state’s 22 medical examiner officers are tasked with releasing information including a person’s medical history, they don’t release the names of those who have died.
Last month, the health department attempted to convince a medical examiner’s office in Miami-Dade County to restrict access to death records, the Miami Herald reported.
Meanwhile, Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) has painted a picture of a transparent government staying up-to-date on the coronavirus death toll.
“Generally ... there’s more data put out on a daily basis by Florida’s Department of Health than anywhere,” DeSantis at a press conference in April.
Florida has more than 35,000 reported cases of the virus, with more than 1,300 reported deaths. That number is likely higher.
DeSantis is already making plans to reopen Florida businesses.
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