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Woman who designed Florida's COVID-19 dashboard has been removed from her position
Governor defends COVID-19 dashboard, transparency following reports of scientist's removal (Academia)

As Florida starts to reopen, the architect and manager of Florida's COVID-19 dashboard, announced she'd been removed from her position, Florida Today reported.

Rebekah Jones said in an email to CBS12 News that her removal was "not voluntary" and that she was removed from her position because she was ordered to censor some data, but refused to "manually change data to drum up support for the plan to reopen." 

Jones made the announcement May 5 in a farewell email to researchers and other members of the public who had signed up to receive updates on the data portal, according to Florida Today. She said that for "reasons beyond my division's control," her office is no longer managing the dashboard, involved in its publication, fixing errors or answering any questions. 

Florida's COVID-19 dashboard, created by a team of Florida Department of Health data scientists and public health officers led by Jones, was praised by White House officials for its accessibility, the Florida Daily reported. But over the last few weeks, it "crashed and went offline, data disappeared with no explanation and access to the underlying data sheets became difficult."

Jones told CBS12 News that since she's been removed, the dashboard still hasn't been fully repaired. 

Dave Aronberg, the State Attorney for the 15th Judicial Circuit which includes Palm Beach County, took to Twitter to respond to the matter, calling the allegations, "disturbing."

Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried also responded to the story.  Fried wrote on Twitter, "Thank you Rebekah Jones, for not being afraid to speak out."

CBS12 News reached out to the Florida Department of Health for comment and is waiting to hear back. 

This week, Gov. DeSantis said Jones faces an open criminal investigation for cyber sexual harassment after a man in Tallahassee claimed to be a victim of revenge porn.

Rebekah Jones. (Leon County Sheriff's Office, 2019)


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