Florida investigates accuracy of COVID death numbers after ‘confusion’

Some reported deaths associated with the coronavirus occurred more than three months after the positive test.
Wed Oct 28, 2020 - 3:16 pm EST
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FORT LAUDERDALE, Florida, October 28, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — The Florida Department of Health (DOH) will investigate the number of deaths associated with COVID-19 and reported in the state after finding that some deaths occurred more than three months after the positive coronavirus test.

Just over 16,500 deaths associated with COVID-19 have been reported in Florida, so far.

The DOH on October 21 issued a press release conceding that the reports were murky, “Fatality data reported to the state consistently presents confusion and warrants a more rigorous review.”

According to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, the department’s main complaint was that, “16 of the deaths occurred more than two months after the person tested positive, and 11 people died more than a month ago. And in five cases, there was a three-month gap between the time of infection and death.”

Two women in their 80s in Palm Beach County, for instance, both died more than three months after testing positive. In another case, a 58-year-old woman in Miami-Dade County tested positive in June but died in October with a lapsed time of about four months.

Fred Piccolo Jr., a spokesperson for Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel the findings “presented a new kind of red flag.” According to Piccolo, such a large gap between someone testing positive for COVID-19 and their death hasn’t been seen before.

“He said when they looked into the data they were finding people who tested positive way back in the beginning of the pandemic but were listed as having died of COVID in October,” the newspaper reported.

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The new investigation came on the heels of comments made by Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives José Oliva, a Republican. A week prior to the investigation being launched, Oliva cast doubts on the accuracy of the state’s COVID-19 death toll.

Oliva believes the numbers are based on compromised data and “a methodology that inflated death rates.” He made his comments after being confronted with findings of an in-house analysis he ordered.

“Sixty percent of the death certificates had reporting errors and, the analysis said, did not adhere ‘to the national standards for completion of death certificates in general and guidelines for COVID-19 related deaths in particular,’” reported the Tampa Bay Times.

The investigation does not plan on individually reviewing each of the more than 16,000 deaths. Rather, moving forward, deaths will be reviewed more thoroughly.

At the same time, Florida “won’t immediately discount people who tested positive for coronavirus and died weeks afterwards, recognizing the virus may have caused damage that contributed to the death, Piccolo said,” according to the Associated Press. “But he said that the state wants to filter out people who tested positive and died from an unrelated cause.”

  covid-19, florida, ron desantis

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