In a shocking report by Florida Today on the situation of coronavirus cases in the state shows that the scientist responsible for creating the extensive database for Florida lost her job after refusing to change specific details in the added information.
Rebekah Jones, in her email to Florida Today, stated that in the past two months, she made four dashboards, two applications in multiple languages, six unique maps with details of data functionality for a total of thirty-two variables.
These variables also further covered around one million data lines and thus creating a very extensive database that could be used to understand the status of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic very clearly.
According to Jones, it took a total of sixteen hours per day for her to make the Florida database. The primary reason for the extensive details was to show the actual progress of coronavirus control to people.
However, following the creation of the database, Jones was re-assigned to a different position. In her email, she explained in the words:
“I worked on it alone, sixteen hours a day for two months, most of which I was never paid for, and now that this has happened I’ll probably never get paid for,”
This confirms that on the fifth of May, Jones was not only removed from her position of the Geographic Information Systems manager but also subsequently told that she was fired from the job at the Florida Department of Health.
After Florida Today reported the shocking event which removed Jones from her job as the in charge of the Florida COVID-19 Data and Surveillance Dashboard, Jones also added that the main reason for her removal was her refusal to change data in the database merely for gaining support to ease lockdown restrictions in the state.
In addition to the emails to Florida Today, Jones also reached out to the medical community and explained how her removal likely meant that the data is going to be manipulated.
Researchers and scientists were reportedly shocked to receive the emails. The majority already believed that Gov. Ron De Santis’ government was engaged in constant efforts to end the lockdown at all costs regardless of warnings from the medical community.
This event adds to the suspicion and evidence regarding Gov. Ron De Santis’ government censorship of information to re-open Florida.
The Biologist and public health communicator at Columbia University, Lucky Tran supported Jones and expressed her outrage in a series of comments on the social media platform Twitter.
Tran particularly stated that governmental censorship and manipulation only makes the common people suffer.
On this controversy, Helen Aguirre Ferré, who is Governor Ron DeSantis’ spokeswoman, talked to Miami Herald claiming that the Florida database was the result of the collective effort of a whole GIS team in the Division of Disease Control and Health Protection at the Florida Department of Health.
She further added that while Jones was indeed a part of the team in making the database, accurate information is still being added to the database by the rest of the members.
However, in accordance with emails sent by Jones to researchers and Florida Today, she was primarily responsible for updates as she was the only one responding to comments by other scientists and constantly working to improve the database.
Furthermore, the emails also show Jones did not take any day off in the two months she created the database. During the time she was fired, she was actually working on making the database even easier to access for the public. So far, the Florida Department of Health has not responded to the events