News & Politics

Is This Why the CDC Posted Inflated Florida COVID Numbers?

Is This Why the CDC Posted Inflated Florida COVID Numbers?
(AP Photo/David Goldman, File)

“Florida has again broken a record when it comes to COVID-19 cases,” reported WSVN in Miami on Monday. “The state reported 28,317 new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday to the Centers for Disease Control.”

“The state recently broke the record over the weekend when the CDC reported a one-day total of 23,903 for Friday,” the report continued. “The state then went on to report 28,316 for Saturday.”

Except it didn’t. Not according to the Florida Department of Health (FDOH), anyway. They allege that the Biden administration’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) posted “incorrect” COVID-19 numbers for the state. The accusation was made in a tweet posted Monday night after a graph based on the CDC’s faulty data showing an alleged spike in cases was shared by the Sun-Sentinal.

“Wrong again. The number of cases [the CDC] released for Florida today is incorrect. They combined MULTIPLE days into one. We anticipate CDC will correct the record,” the Florida Health Department tweeted.

The FDOH says they reported 15,319 cases on Sunday, and the three-day average was 18,795. The department says it follows the CDC’s guidelines for reporting cases, making the CDC’s error seem rather suspicious, especially since the error made it appear that Florida had more new infections reported in one day than in any single day since the pandemic started.

How did the CDC get the numbers so wrong? Is it merely a coincidence that this error comes in the wake of Joe Biden and Ron DeSantis publicly criticizing each other?

After Biden accused both DeSantis and Texas Governor Greg Abbott of failing to do “the right thing to beat this pandemic,” DeSantis called out Biden for his failure to secure the border, where thousands of COVID-positive illegal immigrants are coming into the country.

“Why don’t you do your job? Why don’t you get this border secure?” DeSantis rhetorically asked Biden during a press conference. “Until you do that, I don’t wanna hear a blip about COVID from you, thank you.”

Biden later insulted DeSantis by saying, “Governor who?” in response to a question about him, which, of course, gave DeSantis the perfect setup to insult Biden right back.

Is the public conflict between Biden and DeSantis at all connected to the CDC’s “error”? I don’t want to believe the CDC would intentionally post dubious numbers for political purposes. Still, it’s hard to deny that for some time now, there’s been a coordinated assault on Ron DeSantis and how he’s led Florida through the COVID pandemic—particularly because he’s so pro-reopening and has refused to impose various mandates. One media personality in particular who has hit DeSantis hard is Chris Cuomo, who infamously accused DeSantis of “mishandling” the pandemic, even as New York, run by his brother, had a much higher death rate.

And it’s not like the CDC hasn’t done its part to make New York look better. Since the early days of the pandemic, the CDC has separated New York City from the rest of New York state in its COVID metrics.

When New York City is separated from the rest of the state, New York appears to have had a much better response to COVID than it actually did—better than Florida, conveniently enough. Currently, the CDC puts New York (sans New York City) at the 28th-highest COVID death rate, while Florida is the 26th-highest. There is no entry for New York State that includes NYC, but NYC on its own has the highest death rate in the country, and the state as a whole would rank second, just behind New Jersey, if the city were included. No other metropolitan areas are separated from their states. Meanwhile, the media got its cue to pan Florida’s response to COVID as it praised New York’s. Lest we forget, Andrew Cuomo not only wrote a book about his COVID “leadership,” he won an Emmy for it. It wasn’t until the New York attorney general’s office determined through an independent investigation that New York state had covered up COVID deaths of nursing home patients that people actually started to question Cuomo’s COVID response.

Could the CDC have made an honest mistake? I suppose it’s possible, but such a “mistake” seems hard to accept as unintentional. Heck, should the CDC correct the record, it won’t get the attention the negative story about Florida’s COVID cases did. But, there are forces out there that seem determined to make New York look better while making Florida look worse. With DeSantis well positioned as a potential GOP presidential candidate in 2024, I can’t help jumping to conclusions.