Miami newspaper slams Ron DeSantis for 'not caring one bit' about Floridians' health during COVID-19
On Friday, May 28, Florida's Office of the Inspector General told attorneys for Rebekah Jones — a former data analyst for the Florida Health Department who openly criticized Gov. Ron DeSantis' handling of the COVID-19 pandemic — that she now enjoys whistleblower status. And the Miami Herald's editorial board applauds this development in an editorial published over the 2021 Memorial Day Weekend, slamming DeSantis for not doing more to protect the health of Floridians during a deadly pandemic.
DeSantis, the Herald's editorial board writes, "seemed to care not one bit about the health and well-being of most Floridians as the pandemic raged." And Jones, according to the editorial board, "has gone up against an administration that has shamelessly concealed vital COVID information during the past year."
"Unfortunately, the possibility of DOH manipulating information is not a stretch," the editorial reads. "An investigation continues, and with the cover of whistleblower status, Jones will need to vigorously back up her allegations and the state, its defense. For now, Jones' whistleblower victory stands to be a win over state secrecy for the rest of us."
The Herald's editorial board notes that Florida Health Department "e-mails reviewed by the Miami Herald show Jones was asked to remove data from public view after receiving questions about it from the news organization."
In light of DeSantis' handling of the COVID-19 crisis, the Herald's editorial board writes, Jones' whistleblower status is a very positive development.
"The DeSantis Administration has worked long and hard to discredit Rebekah Jones, fired last year from her job as a data analyst after she accused state health officials of pressuring her to manipulate certain coronavirus numbers," the Herald's editorial board explains. "She has stood her ground for a year, and last week, the Florida's Office of the Inspector General firmed up the earth beneath her feet."
The Herald's editorial board adds that being "officially" declared a "whistleblower" is a major victory for Jones.
"This will afford her certain protections, plus the possibility of reinstatement or compensation," according to the Herald's editorial board. "The former (Florida) Health Department staffer said that she was asked to skew data analysis to better mesh with administration policy and also, to screen other statistics from public view."
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