By Jack Phillips
The Florida Health Department on Monday disputed the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) release of COVID-19 case numbers, claiming that the agency rolled multiple days worth of data into one day to make it appear Florida is reporting a record number of cases per day.
Responding to a tweet from the Florida Sun-Sentinel newspaper asserting that Florida “hit yet another record” for COVID-19 cases, the state Department of Health said it was incorrect reporting. The paper, citing the CDC, claimed the state saw 28,000 new cases on Sunday.
“Wrong again. The number of cases @CDCgov released for Florida today is incorrect,” the agency wrote to the Sun-Sentinel. “They combined MULTIPLE days into one. We anticipate CDC will correct the record.”
The agency, in a separate tweet, called on another outlet—which also cited the CDC—that they need to “please correct this story to ensure accurate reporting to your audiences.”
Instead, the Department of Health said there were 15,319 cases reported on Sunday and a three-day average of 18,795 in Florida.
Throughout the pandemic, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican, has been hesitant to impose lockdowns, vaccine mandates, and other restrictions. Earlier this year, DeSantis barred the state from imposing vaccine passport systems, and last month, blocked schools from imposing mask mandates after the CDC’s recommendation that children should wear them.
A recent rise in “Delta” variant cases in the state has triggered an onslaught of Democratic and media-led criticism against DeSantis over his mandates. CNN pundit Jim Acosta recently claimed that the Delta strain should be dubbed the “DeSantis variant,” drawing criticism.
Meanwhile, DeSantis told The Epoch Times last week that media coverage is driving fear that hospitalizations are high and people will be unable to get medical treatment.
“Hospitals are open in Florida. People who need medical treatment should not be afraid to go to their local hospital. They will have room for everyone who needs treatment,” DeSantis said. “We do not want anyone to be unduly alarmed by media coverage and be deterred from seeking medical treatment when they need it.”
The governor has often been critical of legacy media’s coverage of the pandemic, asserting that these outlets often used sensationalized headlines and anecdotal claims.
“They rely on the most alarming anecdotes from individuals who work in hospitals without verifying the capacity data, available beds, or providing context about the flexibilities hospitals have to meet their patients’ needs,” he said.
John Couris, President and CEO of Tampa General Hospital, appeared to echo DeSantis’s comments, saying that only about 10 percent of TGH’s beds are being taken up by COVID-19 patients.
“At TGH right now we have 126 COVID patients—we are a 1,041-bed hospital,” he said.
The Epoch Times has contacted the CDC for comment.