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Florida reports incorrect data on child COVID cases

Posted at 7:07 PM, Jul 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-27 19:07:51-04

LEE COUNTY, Fla — Landon Frim is an Assistant Professor of Ethics at Florida Gulf Coast University. As a parent raising elementary-aged children, he has a tough decision to make.

“A lot of people are in the same position as us of trying to figure out whether or not to send their kids back in person to class,” said Frim.

A recent error in the Florida Department of Health’s COVID data makes that decision even harder. July 10’s pediatric results shows 31.1 percent of children who tested for COVID-19 were positive. Nearly double the 17 percent rate two weeks prior.

In a statement to Fox 4 the DOH said:

It was a computer programming error specifically linked to the production of the pediatric data report.

As a result, a subset of negative pediatric test results were unintentionally excluded from the pediatric report.

The coding error was identified and has been corrected.

This week’s report shows the rate is 14 percent among children getting tested. But, Frim says the error still adds fuel to the conspiracy theory fire.

“Therefore making it that much harder to get people to socially distance, and do all the things we know will actually hopefully mitigate this pandemic,” he said.

To ease the concerns of those doubting the data, Frim says the DOH should be more transparent about their process.

“I certainly would appreciate as much raw data being out there. So, that as many professionals within the health community, and people who know something about statistics can independently dig into it, and verify it,” said Frim. So, people not only have faith in the numbers, but have faith in the procedure by which these numbers are collected.”

But, he says even that won’t satisfy everyone.

“The very fact that we’re in a politicized environment will mean that that owning up won’t be sufficient for some part of the population,” he said.

You can find data on children’s COVID data here.

http://ww11.doh.state.fl.us/comm/_partners/covid19_report_archive/pediatric_report_latest.pdf [ww11.doh.state.fl.us]