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Beachgoers in Miami on June 10. Photo: Cliff Hawkins/Getty Images

A former data scientist at Florida's Department of Health who helped design the state's coronavirus tracker has created a virus dashboard after being fired from her position in May, the Washington Post reports.

Where it stands: Rebekah Jones' tracker counts over 7,500 more coronavirus cases in Florida than the state health department's official dashboard, which matches data from Johns Hopkins. Axios uses data from Johns Hopkins and the COVID Tracking Project as its standard for tracking the virus.

Catch up quick: Jones says that a top official told her to "manipulate" data to encourage public support for the state's reopening plan in rural counties, the Tampa Bay Times reports.

  • Jones told the Times that she was reassigned on May 5, after objecting to the removal of data on Floridians who tested positive for the virus. The order came from the Division of Disease Control and Health Protection director, per the Times.
  • Jones claims that she was asked specifically to delete data that showed some residents had tested positive for the virus as early as January, the Post reports.

What they're saying: “I wanted to build an application that delivered data and helped people get tested and helped them get resources that they need from their community,” Jones told the Post. “And that’s what I ended up building with this new dashboard.”

  • The Florida Health Ddeepartment has called Jones' initial allegations of data manipulation "patently false." A department spokesman said that the January dates Jones referenced "could also represent the first day someone came into contact with an infected person or went to a place where she may have contracted the virus," in a statement to the Post.
  • A spokeswoman for Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis told the Miami Herald in May that Jones was removed from her position for “a repeated course of insubordination," which included modifying the department's COVID-19 dashboard.

Go deeper: Coronavirus curve rises in Florida and Texas

Go deeper

Updated Oct 7, 2020 - Health

World coronavirus updates

Expand chart
Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Axios Visuals

New Zealand now has active no coronavirus cases in the community after the final six people linked to the Auckland cluster recovered, the country's Health Ministry confirmed in an email Wednesday.

The big picture: The country's second outbreak won't officially be declared closed until there have been "no new cases for two incubation periods," the ministry said. Auckland will join the rest of NZ in enjoying no domestic restrictions from late Wednesday, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said, declaring that NZ had "beat the virus again."

Updated 17 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Health: CDC director warns "now is not the time" to lift COVID restrictions — Exclusive: Teenagers' mental health claims doubled last spring.
  2. Axios-Ipsos poll: Americans' hopes rise after a year of COVID
  3. Vaccine: J&J CEO "absolutely" confident in vaccine distribution goals — Vaccine hesitancy is shrinking.
  4. World: China and Russia vaccinate the world, for now.
  5. Energy: Global carbon emissions rebound to pre-COVID levels.
  6. Local: Florida gets more good vaccine newsMinnesota's hunger problem grows amid pandemic — Denver's fitness industry eyes a pandemic recovery.
Sep 20, 2020 - Health

Trump's health secretary asserts control over all new rules

HHS Secretary Alex Azar and President Donald Trump. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar wrote a memo this week giving him authority over all new rules and banning any of the health agencies, including the FDA, from signing any new rules "regarding the nation’s foods, medicines, medical devices and other products," the New York Times reports.

Why it matters: The story further underscores reporting that health and scientific agencies are undergoing a deep politicization as the Trump administration races to develop a coronavirus vaccine, as Axios' Caitlin Owens has reported. Peter Lurie, a former associate commissioner of the FDA, told the Times that the Azar memo amounted to a "power grab."