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Woman who designed Florida's Covid-19 dashboard removed from her position (cbs12.com)
510 points by danso 14 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 237 comments



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."

Wow. I don't even know what to say. This is horrible, and misinformation at its worst. I feel like this is the magic marker on the hurricane map that nobody can easily laugh at, because they can't see it.


If that is true (and I have no reason to doubt it), I hope that:

1) She will not be subject to long term repercussions for being honest and doing her job

2) Whoever asked her to cook the numbers, will be sued and arrested and go to jail. Cooking the numbers in this case equates to me as killing people, because decisions related to reopening, etc, will be heavily influenced by these numbers.

3) I hope that someone Rebekah Jones will know that unknown people in the internet, even in this obscure hacker site called Hacker News, are proud of what she stood for. She has nothing to gain and everything to lose, and yet she chose the right path. (again, assuming this is true)


Are you new to American politics? The demand to cook the books undoubtedly came from the top, whoever investigates can also be fired, and the public are out demanding that reopening happen even if it kills people.

Fortunately, most of the public are not making that demand. It's well worth keeping in mind that those people are vastly outnumbered: https://xkcd.com/2305/

Big fan of majoritarian rule, will of the people, consent of the governed.

How do we realize that ideal?


Legalizing psychedelics.

If you dig into the science of polling, what you discover is that the way people answer questions is rather confounding, so management of the largest polls typically do not like to use the modern science of polling.

See David Moore's book The Opinion Makers: An Insider Exposes the Truth Behind the Polls.


In most cases we can't even figure out where the top is though like all the doctors that are being encouraged to mark deaths unrelated to covid-19 as related simply because of the time that it happened in.I heard one doctor say oh yeah that patient did die of the virus because we couldn't get supplies here for their condition even though it was completely unrelated they still are calling tons of deaths cause covid-19

"I heard one doctor say"?

like in person? or on TV?

and from this you draw the conclusion that "tons" of deaths are misreported?


Regardless of what happened to this woman, if the public wants the reopening, then by all means it should happen. The opposite, house arrest against the public wishes, is terrifying.

Certainly, but the public should have the correct information on which to make that decision. Demanding public servants massage data to lead public opinion is the same misdeed just with the opposite justification.

There have been several polls that show the public is happy with the lockdown, even Republicans.

I misunderstood what the gp meant by "the public are out demanding that reopening happens".

The public wanting something does not mean it “should happen.” Moreover the public does not want premature reopening.

A move straight from Erdogan's and Vladimir's books. At least she is not rotting in a cell (as per their literal book). Other countries do the exact same thing but I never place i.e. Iran to the same standards as Turkey and Russia (self proclaim) to be. These are truly dark-grey pages in US history. I sincerely hope next time around the people of USA select better leaders.

Edit: people of Florida were lucky to have such a civil servant.


I'm not sure this deserves the downvotes. This behaviour (firing disagreeable public servants, censoring information, blatantly lying) is the exact opposite of what you would expect to see from a strongly democratic nation. It amazes me that the US hasn't fallen further on this chart: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Democracy_Index

It's probably because the countries that are ranked lower have even larger and more systemic issues with democracy. Keep in mind that most people in the west and the English-speaking world experience a large reporting bias towards the US (and Europe, etc.), and this compounded with the size of the US means it's very easy to find a new negative story about the US every day.

I don't say this to excuse the problems. I just want to point out (based on my experience with family in some of these places and local news sources there) that the countries that are not ranked as highly tend to have a lot of problems that people who focus on US news genuinely don't often hear about and know about.


The public servant was not fired.

Moreover, consider the fact that the press is reporting the issue. And that we are freely discussing it.


> consider the fact that the press is reporting the issue. And that we are freely discussing it

consider there is a "press like apparatus" working very hard to polarise the issue into dead lock. "teams" were already drawn up before the issue even started.


She was not fired for the dashboard. But after coming public with this information, I guess there is a big chance she will be fired.

She was not fired. BUT if someone is counting oranges and reports oranges with a defined scientific method and someone flips the switch and asks the same person to count apples and in a half-baked method, and still report it as "oranges" then you either play along their dirty game OR you have the decency to call them out and quit.

She did the decent thing. They did force her to quit.


It's a nice sentiment to have, but it's mostly just halo effect. Democracy is nice, but not that nice. In fact, it's completely orthogonal to "firing disagreeable public servants, censoring information, blatantly lying" - these issues happen in democracies as much as everywhere else.

Do you have a source on the claim that democracies have, on average, roughly the same level of these shenanigans as non-democratic nations?

Certainly the United States does some morally dubious things that are comparable to some of the atrocities that e.g. China and Russia do, but I've still had the impression that oversight, transparency and freedom of speech _improve_ things.


Democracy improves things when it is exercised. In the USA and others countries there is a system in place to avoid public dissent. For example, the USA is practically free to do anything they want in terms of foreign policy without opposition from the national media. Except for some faint opinion pieces here and there, the media is very supportive of whatever crazy schemes the government is trying to impose on "enemy" countries, and practically never debates why a country is an "enemy" or not.

I don't have a source on the claim, it's my belief based on observation and reasoning from first principles (e.g. what systems present in a democracy should have prevented this (alleged) situation from ever happening, why they didn't work here, and have anyone ever saw them working anywhere else?).

"Oversight, transparency and freedom of speech" certainly improve things - to the extent they exist in a country - but they don't stop greedy people from lying and scheming. I'd say the same feature that makes democracy a nice system - bloodless change of power - also creates a framework for greedy people to scheme essentially risk-free. You can defraud the state and defraud the voters and retire rich, instead of getting shot by the opposing group for making too many waves. Point being, you shouldn't expect a country to not have these problems by the very virtue of being "a democracy" - and not China/Russia/Turkey/North Korea/whatnot.


Quoting the "Infinite Monkey Cage" podcast. Democracy is a trial and error political system. You try president/prime minister A political party or coalition A. If they fail, next 4 years people try B, and so on.

People choose well or bad, but People Choose (sorry for the caps). In NK, China, Russia people don't actually choose.

In USA people 'choose less' (check out "Gerrymandering", also check on YT: last week tonight Gerrymandering).


What's your proof of this statement?

Here's a paper i found: https://www.e-ir.info/2015/12/20/a-critical-analysis-of-the-...

There seems to be a correlation in some cases.


It's not a paper, it's some student's essay, and the very abstract of it can be shortened to: "some people think democracy helps reduce corruption, others disagree, it sorta seems it really does help except it may introduce its own forms of corruption, and it's extremely hard to measure any of this anyway, so ¯\_(ツ)_/¯". I don't think it's very convincing in either direction.

> Edit: people of Florida were lucky to have such a civil servant.

It doesn't appear to say she was fired. Just taken off this particular task.


When a principal is made a middle-school science teacher, that’s also not a firing.

It still counts as workplace retaliation.

Agreed.

Worth remembering that all the astroturfing facebook campaigns about reopening came from a single florida ip as well.

Got a source for that?

As a Floridian, I feel defeated. Most people here don’t follow politics, nor would they care enough to make a stand and protest or call for action. Even if they had the drive, a large majority of residents don’t have the luxury of taking days off of work to do this, especially in the current events. Unless mainstream media, especially Fox around here, makes a statement about this, it’s unlikely anything will happen as a result of this.

People need to be fired over this, starting her bosses. This is not how you fight a pandemic.

Americans need to reconsider what a “managed economy” means.

Ok sure a government supervisor isn’t literally dictating what the assembly line produces and how many.

But this story is just one of dozens a day that are all about managing information, acting as a forcing function, to get back to business as usual.

Pay no mind the body political and it’s monopoly on violence!

“Simply generate wealth! Nevermind as we hand out trillions for free! You have to BUY IN! Not these guys, they can get hand outs and tax breaks! Buy in!”

Which is it? Socialism or capitalism?

Believing there’s ever been anything but a managed effort is nonsense. There is no magic or gods. It’s people validating their identity and having it go unchallenged.

Inflation is deflation for the masses. The rich get more handouts when their assets droop.

Peter Thiel recently wrote about how in the history of man there’s always been elites managing the plebs. It’s how it works!

They’re managing what we believe is correct. It’s a biologically simple trick that’s been used intuitively with great success since the first tribal kings.

Here’s the modern version: we control what raw data you see so we can equivocate. It limits real choices and experiences. And it happens constantly while the masses look away at their repetitive jobs.


[flagged]


Please don't break the site guidelines: https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html.

Here is the email she sent to the Florida Coronavirus listserv (copied from /u/aerlenbach on Reddit):

Hey all –

I’ve gotten a lot of emails from everyone during the last eight days ever since the dashboard went down, the data was hidden, and the functionality essentially crashed, so to clear up the confusion, I’m sending this final notice to the group.

For reasons beyond my division’s control, as of late in the day on May 5, my office (the DOH-GIS office) is no longer managing the COVID-19 Dashboard. I am no longer involved in the publication of data, fixing errors, answering questions, etc., in any shape or form. I helped them get it back running a few times but I have no knowledge about their plans, what data they are now restricting, what data will be added and when, or any of that. I understand, appreciate, and even share your concern about all the dramatic changes that have occurred and those that are yet to come. However, I cannot provide any insight now or going forward.

As a word of caution, I would not expect the new team to continue the same level of accessibility and transparency that I made central to the process during the first two months. After all, my commitment to both is largely (arguably entirely) the reason I am no longer managing it.

They are making a lot of changes. I would advise being diligent in your respective uses of this data. I know many of you have broken API links and map layers. I’ve listed the contacts for getting that information below.

The primary contacts going forward are listed below.

Anything related to EPI: REDACTED or REDACTED

Anything related to the technical aspects of the dashboard: REDACTED

It was great working with you guys. Good luck, and stay safe.

-30-

Rebekah Jones, GISP

GIS Manager| Division of Disease Control and Health Protection

PHONE # & EMAIL REDACTED


Reading the plain text of her letter, there is no accusation of wrongdoing, no cooking the numbers, etc. Rather it is a lot of innuendo. Which data to present and how is always an editorial decision as in the case of every other state’s DOH website and every newspapers dashboard.

This is not a whistleblower complaint. It’s only evidence of bad faith on the part of the governor if you come in assuming bad faith to begin with.


I think I've got a good guess what data she didn't want removed or changed, and it's not exactly good for her case. On May the 5th, they day she was removed from her position, there was an all-time high spike of 113 reported coronavirus deaths due to Florida reporting a bunch of old deaths all at once: https://www.tampabay.com/news/health/2020/05/15/florida-adds...

This did not represent an actual spike in deaths which had in reality been declining, but if I remember rightly some people did spin it as deaths increasing due to the lockdown being lifted. Deaths by date reported are conspicuously missing from the current version of the dashboard; it only has dates by date of death, which is far less favourable to the claim that lifting the lockdown is causing an increase in deaths.


I think that using date-of-report is better for lay-people. Pro/cons:

- There's a one time spike when the methodology changes

= The data lags reality on the ground (true for both date-of-report and date-of-death)

+ Past dates aren't updated, so there isn't a continuous bias to show a slowdown in the number of new deaths

I think that the last point is the most important because it's super easy for people to misinterpret provisional data. People were talking about covid-19 not causing excess mortality because using date-of-death always shows a dip for the present: https://twitter.com/TylerMorganMe/status/1248452375162925057

You can also see the same thing in the top comment on this Euromomo thread: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=22866238

> Another very surprising thing is to see no excess mortality in Sweden, a country criticized for a laxer strategy against COVID-19. I was not expecting to see that.

That was week 14 for https://euromomo.eu/graphs-and-maps/ . In fact, week 14's excess death z-score for Sweden was in the "very high excess" category after the data was collected.


An argument can be made that consistency is more important in these things than revision. If you've always charted the numbers based on the date the death is reported, then to try and change it would necessitate a lot of additional complexity in how the data is used.

> if I remember rightly some people did spin it as deaths increasing due to the lockdown being lifted.

People claimed that deaths on the day the lockdown ended were caused by the lockdown ending?


Sounds like they're trying to limit the release of real information so that the lying crazy media doesn't go crazy

Yes, if you read the letter ignoring the context of the direct quotations in the news article then it's not evidence of bad faith on the part of the govorner. What's evidence of bad faith by the governer is the fact that she has told the news organisation:

>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."

But now that you know what she's said to the news reporters, you can see that the context of this email is trying to inform people that the data isn't trustworthy without directly accusing anyone of wrongdoing that may lead to her being fired.


The context of the direct quotations is context that she created. If her perception of the situation is inaccurate, that context will also be inaccurate.

The only facts we know are she was involuntarily removed.

The good faith assumptions are:

* She was removed for reasons unrelated to manipulating data.

* She was not asked to manipulate data.

* No data will be manipulated.

Surely the people in charge of removing her and identifying her replacement can verify those assumptions?


I wonder how much/in what way they wanted to cook the numbers. I.e would a small change affect the perception, could a big change go unnoticed etc. Interesting nevertheless.

I think it's chickens with their heads cut off all the way down at this point.

Original link to the newspaper that broke the story: https://www.floridatoday.com/story/news/2020/05/18/censorshi...

Local news is incredibly important. For instance, the Miami Herald's investigations uncovered the Epstein scandal: https://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/article220097825.html


which one of us techies and software engineers would be brave enough to take the stand and risk our job?

how many of us would look the other way and make some excuse about how it’s not our call and we are just doing our jobs?

i hope that if our time ever comes, we would all have the courage to stand up for the truth like she did.


In practice, it's very difficult fo make such decisions. I'm a young, single developer with other revenue streams. I am not risking a lot, so honesty and integrity are cheap.

However, many people don't have such a luxury, especially outside the tech community.


I think there's a u-shape here. Lots of jobs are disposable. Being the bartender at Chili's is not much different than being the bartender at Olive Garden. So there's lots of jobs on the low end where it's relatively easy to dump the job and get another. My intuition is that the middle has the hardest time, once you get enough job specialization and income.

Fraud and abuse is rarely this blatant and obvious.

Even in this case, I would be surprised if it turns out to be as blatant and obvious as it seems to be right now based on this report.


Given how often we job-hop, more likely than folks in other fields.

Why are there no repurcussions for what essentially amounts to fraud? Why is it acceptable for politicians to commit fraud, but not for anyone else?


Repercussions based on a single person's unproven allegations? Would you like to live in a place where this is the norm?

I have to say I haven't followed this news that close but as far as I could understand most of the covid-related data for Florida plus some map layers are now gone/not accessible any more, so that proves that the most important allegation of this person is correct, i.e. the powers that be wanted the data closest to the truth not to be easily accessible anymore.

I can't figure out what data is actually missing for Florida. It looks like there's currently data on cases, hospitalizations and deaths at the county level, as well as historical data on new cases per day and deaths per day (by day of death). The only things that seems to be missing are historical deaths by date reported, historical hospitalizations, and historical county-level data, and most of those are likely to just be noise - admittedly, noise that would be very useful to publications cynically wanting to cherry-pick data and misrepresent it as evidence of a spike due to the reopening like they have with other states, but that doesn't seem like a reason why publishing it would help inform us.

(In fact, I think Florida was actually the state where people took a all-time high spike in newly-reported coronavirus deaths due to the state reporting a bunch of old deaths at once as proof reopening was killing people. And that spike happened on the same day - May the 5th - as this woman complained that she was supposedly removed for "manually change data to drum up support for the plan to reopen.")


> so that proves that the most important allegation of this person is correct

We'll take your word for it. I assume you have ascertained that what your sources are claiming is correct and that the data displayed previously was also correct?

I can think of many other possibilities and prefer to wait for an official investigation before yelling for someone's head.


How do you feel about the opposite - covering things up - is that the best approach? Because that's what's happening right now prior to her allegations.

We only have a soundbite from one side of the story, we have no idea what really happened.

Communication is always political, and how information is represented is important, and public opinion matters.

For example in Quebec, there are 'big numbers' of cases, but almost 80% of the deaths are in long-term-care homes.

So you could have one person who doesn't want that data to be highlighted, while some other person does because frankly, that information might frame Covid as ultimately being less risky and yet, it's more transparent.

Hydroxychloroquine is another kind of example - in reality, there may be some benefit for this, but it's really not helpful to have the general public tweeting about it, because it's not generally useful, and the impact will be overwhelming on health officials and cause shortages for those non-covid people who really need it. So the information is either suppressed or 'led' in the direction that public health and safety officials want.

So if the state official was literally trying to get someone to literally just change the data and make it look better, this is obviously going to be a whistleblower case. But this may not be the situation.

Public communication is hard. Trump is probably the anti-example.


I think this part is crucial and something that is framing this discussion in a possibly wrong light. We're getting "snippets" of the events from this individual, and it could very well be that they're phrasing their comments and selectively "mentioning" parts of the story in order to amplify and push a certain interpretation.

Everything is marketing, and I would certainly say it's plausible that a developer that was this much in the spotlight would be steering the conversation to at least frame him or herself in a positive light if not outright promote their politics (even if that is just one of transparency/government accountability).


I personally would not go far as this very cynical take, but I think it's totally fair.

I think the HNer thing to do is 'believe whistleblowers no matter what' but I'm of the inclination everyone is tricky and that we are deluded by our own egos quite a lot.

We need more context.


Because serious opposition is criminalized. You are not free.

One repercussion is voting them out. There can be a change or an impact when there is clear evidence.

Unfortunately, voting people out doesn’t really work when a good chunk of people actually side with the person you’re trying to remove.

>the government took it down to protect itself

That's a far-fetched hypothesis, bordering on conspiratorial thinking.

A more mundane, realistic -and more common- scenario: due to mistakes made (as noted in OP: downtime, misplaced data files, APIs needlessly changed, etc.,) the responsibility was transferred to another team.


I think you've mis-read the reporting, she was removed on May 5th, before the issues you listed, after being asked to censor the data.

Someone has posted an email on reddit claiming it was sent out by the woman in question:

https://www.reddit.com/r/Coronavirus/comments/gmfkoa/woman_w...


Here's an update and perhaps a broader perspective:

https://www.miamiherald.com/news/coronavirus/article24285125...

> “Rebekah Jones exhibited a repeated course of insubordination during her time with the department, including her unilateral decisions to modify the department’s COVID-19 dashboard without input or approval from the epidemiological team or her supervisors,” Ferré said. “The blatant disrespect for the professionals who were working around the clock to provide the important information for the COVID-19 website was harmful to the team. Accuracy and transparency are always indispensable, especially during an unprecedented public health emergency such as COVID-19. Having someone disruptive cannot be tolerated during this public pandemic, which led the department to determine that it was best to terminate her employment.”

So, depending on what you choose to believe at this point, you could also consider the possibility that she was making modifications to inflate the numbers and exaggerate the problem.


Deeply unsettling to imagine that the US statistics aren't trustworthy.


Anyone ever believed them? Throughout March and most April, US statistics were essentially worthless because testing was not being done - and that (especially early) happened on purpose, so it pretty much amounts to lying.

Same for the UK - only reporting official in-hospital deaths that were tested, while limiting the number of tests.

Much harder to fix the ONS excess death stats, and those are now running at around 55,000.


Yeah, excess deaths are probably the only reliable metric we have anywhere at this point.

Over here in Poland, I've heard enough rumors in April that obviously-COVID-19-related deaths aren't counted as COVID-19 deaths because of a technicality, so I'm not giving much confidence to our official stats either. But it's harder to cook overall deaths.


I feel like politicizing and propagandizing the "current status" view was sadly inevitable once it became clear this was going to negatively affect capital flows in huge ways for months or years.

There are too many in power invested too heavily in the status quo to allow end participants in the labor market to have enough data to make their own risk assessments. This is why states that have reopened despite it being unsafe to do so have set up unemployment snitch lines for people who don't want to risk their lives, so that the threat of eviction or starvation can be used against them.

I worry we are going to see a lot of naked greed come forth in the next few months, and thousands of preventable deaths as a result.


I've been in and out of the hospital for 6 months for hand related surgeries literally heard stories of doctors marking patients is dying of covid-19 when the only thing that was related was that deliveries didn't happen on time they didn't die of the virus just didn't get their deliveries of medical supplies on time but officially they died of the virus.

You got this from one lady quitting her job?

If we want to progress as a society we must step up for transparency. This kind of deliberate misinformation is devastating

Cory Doctorow wrote the following recently, which seems on topic for this thread:

https://pluralistic.net/2020/05/08/volcano-gods/#reopening


That piece is spot on. The common theme is that a distributed value system based on personal gain is absolutely and totally at odds with preempting a pandemic. The economic interests of business owners and investors is directly at odds with the health and safety of the public. The market won't fix this. It will just price death in. And guess what? They're busy pushing that cost to zero through their corrupt influence on politicians.

This is hardly a surprise. Just because a bunch of screaming uneducated people demand to open the country, ( and have the support they need), doesn't mean it's the smart thing to do. Many people will be in jeopardy and it doesn't matter as long as they can keep the economy rolling. When people become so sick they can't buy things or go to work and the numbers get bigger, to big to hide...then things will get real. Everyone should be prepared for another setback because this is not going to just be...oh yeah all is back to normal guys! No worries....

I have often wondered whether there are any objective criteria for judging intelligence at all, or whether it is all subjective. It must be the case that the success of accurately modeling the world around you, predicting the future of the world around you based on your model, and taking action to achieve an outcome is one way to evaluate intelligence. If we have two minds, and one is better at modeling and taking action and achieving its own desired outcomes, then it must be considered more intelligent, right? But here's the rub! Effective modeling cannot be done with garbage (or no) data. Literally choosing to have bad data cannot possibly lead to better decision-making, as the model is less and less accurate.

In other words, garbage in, garbage out. "Lalalala I can't hear you, you can't see me, we aren't dying" is an objectively stupid strategy. And it's leading to objectively bad results. Let me just say it bluntly. This is stupid. Please can we use that word again? Stupid. Stupid. Stupid.

Infuriating.


For the data scientists of HN - is it common for "the business" to exert influence on your data, so that it results in some conclusion that they want (rather than a truthful conclusion)? I knew a guy who dropped out of an ivy league phd because he was recruited by hedge fund to do data science stuff (no idea what) and he gave me the impression that most of his work was selectively choosing and presenting data that he knew would make management happy, and that he was rewarded with career advancement as a result.

So how common is this?

Side note - someone please hire Ms. Jones.


It's getting harder to trust any data coming from state officials as they move to censor or manipulate it so that they can make a better case for reopening too soon. A lot of this tension can be seen as local governments attempt to implement their own coronavirus restrictions only for the state to override them like here in Texas.

I'm assuming the plan is that when we inevitably get hit by a second wave they can just blame the businesses or the counties for not doing a good enough job or something. Considering how much of a joke the reopening guidelines have been and how little the state is willing to enforce them.


Here's the only data you need to know. Large numbers of people in every locality, from every walk of life, and from every political perspective are violating the lockdown orders. It's everywhere from the MAGA Texans to progressive NY beachgoers. So the state is losing control, but the state must maintain the illusion of control. If 10 people break the lockdown you arrest them. If 10k people break the lockdown, it's no longer a lockdown. So the state is just catching up to the reality on the streets, trying to pretend they are still in charge of the decision. And the state will twist themselves and the truth into a funny looking pretzel to do it.

Isn't that a kind of state failure?

No, the states are trying to open back up because they are not getting any help from the White House. Trump has been actively encouraging the protests and McConnell has shot down any financial support for the states. Unlike the federal government, the states can't print money, so what is the point of racking up huge deficits while the white house actively undermines your quarantine efforts? After all, Trump is going to be at the top of the ticket in November, so if you are a governor, why would you continue to enforce the politically difficult but necessary quarantine policies if Trump is going to be the one to get the credit if it succeeds. Might as well save the state finances and risk opening back up early. And if/when a second wave happens, Trumps political fortunes will likely be toast.

>Trump has been actively encouraging the protests

Do you think all those 20-something Florida Spring Breakers and NYC bar/beach-goers are big Trump followers?


Do you think right wing media would be agitating for re-opening if Trump wasn't also doing the same?

I live in a beach town in CA. We have had only minor issues enforcing the distancing rules. Despite what you may have read in the media, the vast majority of the population supports the measures and are complying with the orders. But the few issues that we have had got a ton of news coverage. So there is a bit of a selection bias there.


I honestly just don't understand why you think this.

https://www.insider.com/florida-authorities-release-video-bl...

In your estimation, what percentage of the 3k young people at this block party take their queues from Trump or Fox News? I have a hard time imagining even a single one of them has watched any news in the last week, much less right wing news.


I am as liberal as they get, and even I get bombarded with right wing memes and news via various social media. But yeah, I don't think the block parties are happening because of Trump. That stuff is going to happen because young people are just being young. But I also don't think young people partying poses any real threat to the states ability to 'control'.

But the handful of sparsely attended, astro-turfed lockdown protests, which were spun in the news as a ground swell of anti-lockdown support, were absolutely influenced (if not actively coordinated) by the right wing media and Trump.

And for the record, your original claim was that states are loosing control, so that is forcing them to open back up. And my claim, was that that is incorrect, they are making a political calculation. The governors are getting squeezed from the right by Trump-ism, and they are getting squeezed from within by their rapidly expanding budget deficits. And at this point, a second wave is unavoidable due to the poor responses around the globe and within the US, so the benefits of successfully eliminating the virus in any particular state have been greatly diminished. But at any point, if a state deemed it necessary, they could marshal the resources to enforce stay-at-home orders. There is no populist uprising threatening their illusion of control, as you seem to believe.


This is the Ozarks: https://twitter.com/maxbaker_15/status/1264386140720771076

This is not a partisan phenomenon. The few hundred people agitating at rallies are irrelevant. People are going about their business, violating the law and guidelines all over the place. No one is going to arrest all those people in the Ozarks. The states are in a position where they can either try to arrest the thousands upon thousands of people like the ones in that video, or they can scramble to try to make the law reflect reality on the streets. They are choosing the latter.


Some of these states were bordering on insolvency before Covid ever began. There has been a state pension crisis brewing for years in states like Illinois. Meanwhile, you can't just print your way out of 36 million unemployed (and counting). Early estimates are that GDP will shrink by 43% in Q2 2020. Society will literally break down of this kind of economic situation continues for much longer. Economic suicide is not an option.

While it's not quick I am wondering if the uncensored data would be available under freedom of information type laws.


We'll find out in a month or so in WA state. I've filed a request and plan on making it public.


I'll tell you this, as an anecdote, my mother works in a hospital in central Florida, in The Villages, the largest retirement community in the state. She says it's never been so slow. They've had to cut shifts, and she's seen worse flu seasons than what they went through over the past 2 months. They were never at more than 50% capacity. And they never had more than a dozen Covid patients at any given time.


Interesting, but perhaps that anecdote makes sense?

It’s kind of middle of nowhere FL with a low population density.

Everyone is retired and the closest major airports are Tampa and Orlando (I think) and I suspect visitors/tourism to The Villages are relatively low in number.

Additionally, from what I last saw around 50% of confirmed cases were in South FL. Where there are major international airports, plentiful tourism, and greater population density.


These retirees are generally well off financially. They frequently return home to their families out of state and travel a lot whether by cruise, RV, or air. They dine out constantly and meet in the town squares for dancing and social activities in large numbers. I still strongly suspect there's some x-factor for Covid that protects people from it's worst effects. That could be vitamin D levels or some other vaccine they already received.

At any rate, this is why I argue each local community should deal with situation as it evolves. You can't pretend the virus is hitting everywhere equally at once and it makes no sense to shut businesses down when your local hospital is at less than 50% capacity.


Are they currently "dining out constantly and meeting in the town square for dancing"? I suspect they probably are aware of the high IFR in their demographic and acting accordingly.

That's happening everywhere, people are staying away from hospitals.


But this is the most critical area worldwide, much more important to protect than New York. As you said, it's the largest density of seniors. 50% is nothing if it breaks out there. Glad that they could avoid that so far.

The major challenge is that we either hide for an indefinite amount of time, which destroys the wealth pipes, aka the economy, or we get hit by a second pandemic wave. There are NO good options.

Cherry on top: everything is hyperpartisan, which leads to the destruction of public trust. In some alternate reality, Mr. Trump and Ms. Pelosi would hold a joint press conference and tell us the cold facts: There are NO good options. Many people are going to die, and there is nothing anyone can do to indefinitely prevent that. Let's at least hold our heads up with dignity.


Meanwhile on the other side of the world countries are reopening with a fraction of the deaths, because their measures actually worked.

Or, we're all cooking our books too.

I mean, I am really trying hard to not be overly cynical, but I'm so thoroughly disappointed with everyone's reaction to COVID-19 - from the well-known failures of the US Federal Government, all the way to my little part of the planet and the Poland's mistreatment of healthcare (of which I've heard plenty from inside the healthcare system) and attempts to have elections this month anyway (ended up postponed at the last minute)... At this point I'm assuming all reported statistics everywhere are +/- 2 orders of magnitude, and I'll be keeping every protective measure I can until it's unambiguous that my region has dealt with the virus successfully, or until I'm forced to stop keeping those measures by fiat.


Actually, you have a choice between three things.

1. Hide for an indefinite amount of time, devastating the economy.

2. Re-open, get hit by a second wave, also devastating the economy. (Economies don't do great in the middle of an uncontrolled pandemic.)

3. Do the hard work of getting public health efforts, employment law, and testing logistics to the point where you can re-open safely.

Guess which option we're going with?


We're going with 3. Every state is focusing intense efforts on those things.

Really?

States are citing employers who are compelling sick people to come to work, or banning employees from wearing masks? Which states?

States are hiring armies of contact tracers? States are rolling out massive, free, convenient testing before reopening?

The only thing states seem to be doing is trying their best to send people back to work, regardless of whether or not their workplaces are safe, and lifting restrictions, regardless of whether or not they are ready. (Why, for instance, are the states re-opening businesses simultaneously limiting bans on large gatherings? Large gatherings are not necessary for re-opening the economy.)


According to story, “COVID-19 dashboard designer faces cyber sexual harassment charges”, say the Governor of Florida:

https://cbs12.com/news/local/covid-19-dashboard-designer-fac...


No one seems to be asking what the data in question is? Surely the correct data was reported elsewhere? What was hidden exactly?

Data tampering of this sort should be highly illegal. Like, years in prison, illegal.

When I opened the article I got a gdrp cookie popup from Sinclair, who apparently owns CBS12.

I'm not American and all I know about the US media landscape is what I get from HN, but isn't Sinclair this local broadcaster that's notorious for spreading absolute bollocks all the time?

Does this site have anything to do with the real CBS?

More specifically, is any of this true?


I have no reason to distrust the local CBS affiliate, but in any case, it’s a summary of a story reported by this news outlet: https://www.floridatoday.com/story/news/2020/05/18/censorshi...

Note that floridatoday.com is a Gannett/GateHouse paper, and the reason why I didn’t submit it is because I had thought that network is inaccesible to EU users.


Actually the Florida Today website opens with this banner: "Welcome to USA TODAY NETWORK’S EUROPEAN UNION EXPERIENCE", and is entirely ad free.

I believe it is better in general to post the original source, in order to support local journalism.


Nice! Thank you for the info

Sinclair owns a big chunk of US media outlets, so it's not surprising that a particular outlet's website would have Sinclair cookies on it. While the upper level Sinclair management has a well-deserved bad reputation the individuals working at the local level can still do good reporting if they're allowed to.

When an American TV station is 'ABC 7' or 'CBS 12' that typically means they're a local TV station with a deal to rebroadcast official ABC, CBS, etc programming mixed in with some bits of local/original footage. So when you watched an ABC station here, you got mostly national ABC footage combined with a mix of local content (like news programs) and local ads.


Sinclair is the same broadcasting station featured in the terror-inducing "This is Extremely Dangerous to Our Democracy" video

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZggCipbiHwE&disable_polymer=...


https://youtu.be/ZggCipbiHwE?t=52

We are the Borg. Resistance is futile.


It's not even GDPR compliant because everything is every setting is toggled "YES" by default which is illegal.


US is no different from China it seems.

There is always a temptation for people in power to "massage the facts" (for various levels of "massage") to make themselves look good. One difference between the US and China is that we have the freedom to call it out and discuss it. Hopefully a second difference is that we'll have the political will to fire the people who asked to do the "massaging" -- whether that will happen or not remains to be seen.

What difference does "the freedom to discuss it" make if it has no effect on policy?

Public discussions inherently have an effect on policy. That's why China censors so extensively. The reason they can apply strict lockdowns to cities with double-digit case counts is that their citizens can't have discussions about "hey this seems an overreaction".

I was thinking of posting the same thing, but worried about the inevitable ensuing what-about-ism arguments. But, yes, this is a yet another step away from the transparency that underpins democracy and leads to 'reality is as the nation state allows it'.

It only furthers the populace's depth of under- and mis-education about anything that may be of relevance to the state of the country / world. It will only serve to pour fuel on conspiracy theories and fake news that are already burning out of control.

Transparency is a requirement of democracy. Australia has been increasingly legislating against whistleblowers and real (no-real-Scotsman arguments aside) journalism for a few years now. The world was already heading this way, and it only seems to be gaining momentum, and this time the "free, democratic West" are right there along for the ride instead of conscripting their populace against the threat.

We will beat China at their own game! (and in doing so lose ourselves entirely).

(Yes, this is a big dramatic post over a small thing, but it feels like the timing of this small thing is as a result of the looming big thing: the US Presidential elections).


Yeah, sure. I can’t think of a single way in which they’re different either.

I know many others are thinking it, so I'll be the one to say it.

Obviously the US is different from China. In China, this women would be dead and no one would know her name, or she wouldn't have spoken up in the first place because of that risk. In the US, she proudly spoke out without fear of government repercussion, and the commenters on this website proudly support her also without fear of repercussion.


?????

The comments here on HN are borderline irresponsible.

All we know is that someone was removed for what they perceived be 'censoring some data' - and we really have almost no context or material facts.

It continues to amaze me how people jump to conclusions and can't fathom how power, information, and communications work within any organization and that it's always complicated.

Having responsibility is almost 100% 'making sausage' and there is literally no situation in which the public will have access to 100% of the information, and when they do, it will be communicated in a specific way, hopefully for the public good.

For example, someone could feel that it's 'really important' to publish the latest finding on Hyrcoxychloroquine, or Remdesevir or whatever, when from a public communications perspective, it may not be helpful at all to be a focus on this information. Some might call this censorship, some might call it suppression, others might call it responsible.

How about hospital vacancy rates? Because all over North America, the vast majority of Hospitals are sitting idle, and medical staff are being laid off. Funny we don't see that on CNN. Obviously, from a public health policy, maybe this wouldn't be such a good set of data to focus on because people might get the impression that there is materially no pandemic, unable to grasp that in fact, the low rates of hospitalization are due to social distancing measures.

My gosh man this is everyday life in so many fields.

If some Florida politician was trying to literally get numbers manipulated, hopefully, this will be dealt with in the criminal justice system, but this may not be the case.

COVID is a sausage-making communications nightmare for everyone involved, there are massive legal issues, massive economic consequences, existential life and death concerns, literally geopolitical realignment happening in real-time.

Let's try to get more information.

Edit - a relevant example from Miami Herald: [1] "But since the state’s first confirmed coronavirus case, officials have kept some basic information confidential. Most notable: DeSantis has chosen not to reveal the names of nursing homes experiencing outbreaks — cases that, according to Florida Department of Health data, have resulted in at least 126 deaths."

This is exactly the same in Quebec - they don't want to release the individual names of the homes (they are of course known to the occupants and relatives) because it's not meaningful information for the public to have. They've made a reasonable case for not doxxing the homes with problems.

So this is a pretty good example of where public information is managed for the public good. It happens everywhere.

What troubles me specifically about the whistleblower complaint is that there were no specifics at all - no actual articulation of malfeasance. 'Censorship' is a pretty vague term.

[1] https://www.miamiherald.com/news/coronavirus/article24205069...


> Let's try to get more information.

The irony of this part.

We need to hold leaders accountable, and we need to make good decisions. They are actively undermining that ability by censoring data and trying to cover their asses.

The rest of your comment trots out a truckload of red herrings about information we might not want to look at right now, or some disgruntled or misguided person not following proper channels and rushing to get out crap information about drugs or something. These things could not be less related to what we are talking about here. FFS they fired the person whose official job it was to make information available to the public and she reports it was because they wanted to censor it. I mean, does that not strike you as something she should absolutely blow the whistle on?


Absolutely she should blow the whistle. Then the journalists should ask followup questions like "which specific changes were you ordered to make", so they can dig in and confirm whether those changes would be dishonest. A story with little context and no details is useless; the state will soon announce something along the lines of "nuh-uh she's a liar", and then how's anyone supposed to decide who's right except by applying preconceived biases?

"FFS they fired the person whose official job it was to make information available to the public and she reports it was because they wanted to censor it. "

I think you are misreading my point and definitely misunderstanding the nature of the person's job.

We don't know what happened and 'censored' can mean a lot of things.

My quotes are not 'red herrings' - they are examples of what is happening right now.

The Miami Herald is upset that Flordia would not publish the names of retirement homes?

What if this is literally the issue in question? What if this 'whistleblower' wanted to publish said names, but the Gov. didn't want her to? Is this worthy of whistle-blowing? I don't think so.

What if she wanted to make a graph where the landing page highlighted 'total new cases' (which looks bad because it's always rising) but the state wants 'daily new cases' (which looks better because it's ostensibly flat. Is that censorship?

And by the way - disgruntled people are fired all the time.

What we need is more information, and it's odd that the state employee did not actually give more specifics, it would validate the cause a little better.

Finally - it's not her job to decide what goes out and whatnot. Definitely not, that's a fairly high-level decision. Her job is to communicate and coordinate it effectively. But again, using my example the decision as to 'do we name the long term care homes or not?' is definitely above her pay grade. That's a communications job it will touch the highest levels.

So again - we need more information in order to determine the severity of what happened here. Maybe there is fraud rising to criminality, in which case I hope someone goes to jail, but it may not be that.


On the one hand you say we need more information, but the bulk of your comment is pure speculation and distraction. You already made a conclusion about her claims and it's obvious from the giant cloud of doubt you are trying to create. That's an unhealthy skepticism at best and bad faith incredulism at worst. Both are chilling effects for holding leaders accountable. I also think you don't understand what a red herring [1] is. Stop distracting with irrelevant anecdotes.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_herring


This is pattern from this current crop of hyper-partisan political leadership

Whether it’s stuff like this, crapping on journalists for asking legit questions, concealing or even destroying climate data, etc these folks should not be trusted with anything of consequence under any circumstances.

The fish rots from the head— even presuming this was the handiwork of some political appointee/apparatchik/barnacle who wanted to make sure there is no “bad news”, they got their cue from higher up the food chain.

You’d figure a genuine crisis like this might shake these folks out of their stupor but no luck yet.

Many folks are stressed af about the economy & there needs to be be a cost/benefit way to measure the risks, etc but this is no good.

This is the kind of shady/moronic behavior you’d expect in a political ecosystem like China, Russia, Turkey, etc


The same thing is happening all over the 'western' world. It is not a US or partisan thing. Neo-Liberal oligarchic 'democracies' rely on people voting against their own interest. This is core. This is why they need the 'post-thruth' culture where 'everything is fake news'.


This needs some serious citations. As far as I know there have been no fake numbers reported in Australia for example. Americans seem to have this attitude of "If its bad here, just imagine how bad it is everywhere else"

I am not American, I am Belgian. Over here the (neo-liberal) side of the political spectrum has mounted enormous pressure on the way all Covid-19 figures are reported, so as to 'not harm the economy'. So far the committees in charge have mostly resisted, but the assault is relentless and they are starting to cave on more recent developments.

Two points:

-your covid-19 figures, if plausible, should be in line with 'excess-mortality', or you should have an explanation why they are not (keep in mind that some major sources of non-corona mortality were significantly lower during lockdown, while others were slightly up).

https://www.economist.com/graphic-detail/2020/04/16/tracking...

- Ask one of the ICU nurses or doctors (I'm sure everyone at least knows a friend of a friend) what happens to those that 'survive' the covid-19 hospitalization? Why is it we are only hearing about 'deaths', as if everything is 'just super' if you weren't hoisted out in a bodybag?


It is well known amongst statisticians that several states cook their numbers in different political ways. Belgium is known to massively over report, every death is COVID-19 there. Belgium got famous for having the highest death rates worldwide, which did not make sense at all.

Many others states don't test dead flu suspects at all, and thereby don't report as COVID-19. You only see the real numbers later with the excess mortality.

But recently (starting with April 24) even these numbers were cooked as they applied wrong models for the last two weeks. They were proven wrong when you compare the reports for subsequent weeks via archive.org.

Other known cheaters are Japan, Turkey, Russia, Germany. It's an interesting game and not many whistleblowers or good journalism.


To be clear, do you have specific knowledge that these countries are disproportionately cheating, or are you just presuming every country whose statistics violate expectations is cheating?

Maybe you're not empathizing with people enough to understand their interests.

This line is tired and ridiculous. If you can't see why people ranging from poor to upper class might favor right wing ideology, without resorting to tropes and strawman arguments, you're not trying. The same is true for left wing ideology.

It's not voting against their self interest, it's voting against YOUR PERCEPTION of their interest.


Do you propose a archaic-communist dictatorship to solve the issue ? What's the alternative world you envision, where people are forbidden to vote, especially against their own interests (or at least, as perceived by you) ?

A true democracy, first tell people not to vote only for their own interest, but the nation's, and whatever they vote for, it's THEIR responsibility. No buts, no ifs, you vote you pay. Fake news or corrupt oranges, the citizens have the last word: they wanted it.


"Neo-liberal oligarchies" and archaic communist dictatorships are not the only two types of government. Social democracies for example exist as well and are much less of a strawman to argue against.


I used to look up to America. It was the country I wished my country was more like. I often joked I wished the U.S. would buy our country so we could live in the 51st state. Sure no country doesn't have problems but there was an aura around America, at least in my eyes.

In the last few years I have been living in shock. I can't believe what is happening at the top levels of power. I oscillate between disbelief and anger. I spend most days with a sick feeling in my stomach. I constantly ask myself "How is this happening? When will someone stop the madness?", but it seems there is a story like this almost everyday.

I am close to losing hope.


This is not new, but it is getting so bad that people around the world are finally starting to realize that much of the image of the US is based on the fiction it sells. Rich country, (still) yes, but freedom and democracy have taken a turn to the worse in the last decades.

You mean since Eisenhower. Nothing much changed since.

>How is this happening?

All states are corrupted by their secrets. America is no exception.


The thing you need to know is that America has not changed.

What had changed is that Trump doesn't try to hide it, he doesn't care. And because of that, the media (which is where you get your info) also doesn't try to pretend not to be biased.

They hate Trump, he hates them, he makes up stuff about them, they only report the worst things they can find. (Try it, listen to a Trump press conference, then read the press about it.)

The cure? Stop listening to opinion and speech, and only watch actions.


Might have watched too much Hollywood. Goes to show cultural export is one hell of a drug.

It was like that for a lot of americans, and I think it really pushed them to be better people. But polarization turns "better" into "not them" and the aura has become a noxious haze

[flagged]

evgen 13 days ago [flagged]

Feel free to leave. You haven't been here long and we won't miss you. OTOH, whenever this whine comes up someone will feel compelled to post the 'hacker news is whatever news hackers find interesting' link and we can move on. This particular story combines tech, data science, politics, and the global pandemic that is currently re-defining our lives so it is hard to see why someone would object to this story so much to actually make the effort to complain about its presence.

Please don't be a jerk on HN, regardless of how wrong or annoying another comment is. If you had simply flagged it, it would have been flag-killed sooner and without the extra guidelines violation and offtopic noise.

This is in the site guidelines: https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html.


Yes it would be very solipsistic if HN ignored the biggest event going on right Now.

Unfortunately this has been happening across the world. Some people have been convinced that every single institution of authority is corrupt, and that the handful of provocateurs they've voted into power are the only source of truth.

I really don't know how we go back from this. Things like antivaxx were fringe movements mocked half a decade ago, but they've been gaining more and more momentum. Conspiracy theories are now the norm and even the absurd ones, like Flat Earth, have more and more believers.


Actually, religious belief has been declining over the past century along with economic development. I think the numbers of people losing those conspiracy theories are far greater than the numbers picking up novel ones.

Even if that assertion is true I'm not entirely sure it's a net positive. I'm not religious and I'm aware that all kinds of disgusting acts have been commited in the name of religion. However, at the core of most religion is a strong moral code which is at least reasonably consistent.

Random conspiracy theories directing their ire at everything from Jewish people to 5g cell towers, not so much.

suby 14 days ago [flagged]

Let's be more specific. It's republicans.


Please don't take HN threads into brain-dead partisan flamewar. It's always the same, and it's not why we're here.

(No, this is not because I'm supporting Republicans. I'm supporting HN.)

https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html

We detached this subthread from https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=23231556.


It really is startling how reviled this sort of comment tends to be, despite the overarching trend of Republican leadership to systemically misrepresent and falsify data to support their views.

The next time Democrats pull these shenanigans, name and shame them. Both-sides-ism only obscures the bad actors that should be directly pressured to do better.


A comment from a non-American on the sidelines, who is generally appalled at Trump's sheer incompetence/myopia but otherwise not hugely invested in this:

Reading the New York Times recently, I've been struck not only by the amount of sheer bile directed at Trump and Republicans (which I can understand), but a consistent thread of seemingly wanting to make the COVID crisis seem as bad as possible, casting even positive developments in the US in a negative light ("Cases are going down in city X... but how many are not being measured in city Y!?!"). In particular, the necessity of locking down everything forever (and, by extension, loosening lockdown being an unforgivable sin) is starting to take on religious tones, instead of being an extreme but temporary measure grounded in science. Which sounds uncomfortably like a mirror image of what Republicans and the right-wing press are doing ("freedom good, lockdown bad!").


I don't support the War part(ies).

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Which one? Can you demonstrate that they were "making it up"?

More importantly, can you demonstrate that it has direct relevance to the topic of COVID-19 data massaging under Florida's* Republican state government? If not, this isn't the place.

* edited for precision


It really isn't surprising at all actually. There are a huge number of HN commenters who enthusiastically support Trump and his lies because they're right-wing, Ayn Rand-reading libertarians who think they are "winning." They'll downvote or flag any criticism of the Republican party as controversial or overly political. It's been this way for years.

Deleting due to HN hivemind.


> zero metrics behind them

Um, what? You just linked to a random non-(data) dashboard page and decided that metrics aren’t published?

When I visit https://www.doh.wa.gov/, I see a banner that links to https://www.doh.wa.gov/Emergencies/Coronavirus, which in turn prominently links to the actual dashboard https://www.doh.wa.gov/Emergencies/NovelCoronavirusOutbreak2... The aforementioned page also has simple data summary tables https://www.doh.wa.gov/Emergencies/Coronavirus#CovidDataTabl... I can’t even find that random page you linked to without digging.

To be clear I’m very tired of partisan bullshit and has no dog in the fight, and there may be other valid criticisms, not to mention it’s not at all clear the published data is accurate (given earlier scandals around care homes), but this particular criticism is very misleading.


Deleting due to HN hivemind.


Because risk assessment is often way more complex than a couple of flat metrics? Of course, flat and easily understandable (by laypeople) metrics are good for scoring points and making people believe they’re in the know, but it’s not at all clear to me that 7/7 over a bunch of flat metrics with arbitrary thresholds indicates “safe for reopening”.

Again, to be clear, I’m personally on the caution side, not the reopening side.


Deleting due to HN hivemind.


I understand the frustration of advocating a contrarian view on HN, but please don't do rage-deletes. You're depriving readers who want to know what you had to say. Some of those would have been genuinely interested, despite the downvotes from others.

Anyone who wants to read a downvoted comment, btw, can do so more easily by clicking on its timestamp. That should take you to a page where it's more readable—assuming of course that there is content left to read.


How you can compare a dashboard that was so blatantly false it warranted a public-apology to a dashboard that DOES show sources And presents the info straightforward is beyond me.

If your point is about phases, maybe re-word your initial comment to make that clear.


This doesn't seem like it is remotely in the same league as ordering data to be censored and firing someone who refuses, which is what you stated ("That's nearly as bad as what DeSantis is doing.")


Is this supposed to be sarcasm?

A whistleblower sounding the alarm on data falsification is in no way comparable to a high-level rollup of data which, by the way, is (at most) a few clicks away on that same site.


>> high-level rollup of data which, by the way, is (at most) a few clicks away on that same site.

It isn't. References to "data" are provided, no models or tabular data / metric-driven formulas are. I have a state information freedom request processing. Compare NY to WA and tell me if you really think the data is comparable.

As for the data falsification claim, I have no idea why Inslee makes his decisions or when the phases will start based on metrics/numbers. It's entirely up to him and his mandate. That's not falsification, but it sure ain't transparent government or any sort of support for small businesses suffering from extended shutdown orders with no insight on the process.



This does not look remotely like NY state's or have metrics/thresholds/categories. (I am familiar with it.)

From this data, what algorithms/models does Inslee plug it into? What are acceptable levels of infection/community spread/ICU beds? Cuomo is very transparent about the 2nd question, which is enough for me given a two month window of time to work on it.


[flagged]


>> shitty web design

You're beating a strawman. I don't care about the markup. I care that Inslee doesn't come close to Cuomo on distributing thresholds and limits on how phases move from one to the next. Cuomo has been very clear. Inslee has dumped data on a screen and some clipart.


I think that's extremely unfair and misleading. Jay Inslee and Washington state is being extremely clear on showing information on their covid-19 dashboards. They are excellent. He's said that the threshold change is a complicated choice and it's not a simple are we decreasing at a certain rate. That's not an honest appraisal of the situation.

That's just, like, your opinion, man.

Here's what several news organizations have to say about Ron DeSantis (R-FL):

"Stop hiding true COVID-19 stats, Gov. DeSantis. Our lives are still at risk" — https://www.miamiherald.com/opinion/editorials/article242557...

"Florida avoided COVID-19 catastrophe by ignoring DeSantis, Trump" — https://www.sun-sentinel.com/opinion/commentary/fl-op-com-sc...

"[Florida] blocked medical examiners from making public their own fatality counts and released a list of those deaths last week only after redacting key information" — https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/does-florida-gov-ro...

Edit: the Cuomo section is an edit made after I posted this, as is the [0] addendum


[flagged]


True, but you did bothsides it without offering any examples to back up your opinion.


The entire thing about Inslee has links and references backing up why I think he is a poor leader who has a Democrat branding. Well, one of the many reasons I think he's a poor governor.


If he hadn't pushed to shut down the state in early March, when Washington state was the worst outbreak by far in the nation we'd have been like other states that it has run away in. Instead we were saved. Washington could have had deaths like Michigan. Remember we were worse than everywhere else here. I thought Inslee took too long to shut down the state.

I was prepared to leave Washington after the cases started piling on and the national guard started assembling a field hospital a couple miles away from me. Then somehow -- I'm still not sure if it was Stay Home Stay Safe or what -- the ERs stopped being flooded, the hospital was packed up without being needed, and most of the people outside started wearing homemade masks and distancing.

I'm not home free but I can trust most of the people outside to wear masks and socially distance, and I know the ERs will be available if I get sick (I have a rare disease and my body is weak.)

I'm not sure if it's Inslee's doing but I feel much safer here than home (Georgia.)


I think he is a poor leader who has a Democrat branding

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Democrat_Party_(epithet)


Not sure your point. I have no problem with Democrats. I'll likely vote for another one this presidential election. The parent comment asked for Democrat examples. I gave two - one good, one poor.


It’s not only happening in the US. The true numbers will be very hard to see, everywhere.


While that may be true and could only really be resolved by testing 100% of the population please do show me another democratic, developed and wealthy country where systematic massaging of facts and numbers is so widespread.

You may have a number of conservative talking heads in the UK yelling for reopening, but in no other place I know of the virus is actually a partisan issue.

One of the reasons, in my book, why the US response is so terrible compared to just about every other rich country.


Spain and its social-communist government.

We can only look at increase of total deaths from mean and decrease of deaths per category (ie traffic etc) from mean.

And even more specific. The establishment. They're too scared of losing power and control.


Oh no, it’s despotism.

[flagged]


> will actively downvote or flag any criticism of the Republican party

And a low-effort, context free swipe at the GOP proves this?

Removing these posts is keeping HN non-political, describing down-voters as "brownshirts" (i.e. Nazis) is not.


If the shirt fits...

But why Florida, though? I can understand more rural states, but has the GOP made a spreadsheet that determined the number of elderly GOP voters who will die by reopening early will be cancelled-out by younger swing-voters who would vote for Trump's second-term because they reopened Florida early? Or do the models suggest that they'll die _after_ the election? Or will they do early re-openings only in Dem-leaning population centers?


Show me the data that indicates states that have opened in the last two weeks are experiencing spiking positives for the virus.

Sure, I'll wait.



Yes, there was a spike of 56 new deaths reported on the 15th.

Due to reopening? More likely due to noisy data. There was a similar spike of 50 new deaths reported on April 30th, before Texas reopened.

And after the 15th, the numbers reverted to the mean: 33 on the 16th, 31 on the 17th.

https://covidtracking.com/data/state/texas


The US media don't care about details like this, because they're not interested in actually informing people. They've been doing things like cherry-picking clusters related to meat processing plants that weren't covered by the lockdown anyway, blaming them on the lockdown being lifted, and wording their headlines to make it sound like there was a state-wide spike - and there's a very noticeable partisan bias in which states they're doing this to as well.

Looking at the data for Texas holistically, it's unclear that there is a change in the trend in the last few weeks.

In general I think this whole idealogical battle over reopening is really dumb. There isn't going to be either a significant economic recovery or a spike in cases, because only a tiny minority of people are going to actually behave the way they did before the shutdowns. Most people are still not going to engage in activities that really spread the virus significantly (densely pack restaurants, large indoor gatherings) and many, many people will wear masks.


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How many excess deaths are okay? 1000? 10,000? It's a false dichotomy to trade off a complete shutdown vs giving up on covid-19. The right strategy is get ppe and testing, then we can more carefully open things up. Make rules that people have to wear masks when they are close to others. Then you can more safely open things up. It's not one or the other.

How many excess deaths are not okay? 1? 10? The right strategy is to grin and bear it like our ancestors did. We'll have a vaccine soon enough. Or not. Either way, welcome to Planet Earth. Most of us Earthlings would prefer to live rather than hide.

My point is there's not a choice only between staying at home and our idiotic state by state opening up w no plan or safety plan. We can open up when safe, have actual protections , ppe, testing together.

You need to accept that is not going to happen any time soon. We don't have the luxury of sitting on our hands indefinitely.

While they're currently in the spotlight, I'd go so far as to say it's any politician trying to get (re)elected.

That's their job, after all. \s


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Please do not post political or nationalistic flamebait to HN. It starts moronic flamewars, which are the antithesis of what this site is for.

https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html


"Every nation gets the government it deserves."

We in South Africa also went through our phase of stupid a while back with the ruling party and it's corrupt leadership cadre at the time.

You just let it need to play out until the whole thing eventually comes tumbling down but just reinforced my notion that most people are just gullible and can be easily fooled.


Have you noticed?

Americans don’t protest anymore.

* Cops killing minorities. Crickets.

* USA Military killing foreigners. Crickets.

* USA Military torturing foreigners. Crickets. It’s not torture. They call it “Enhanced Interrogation”. And it’s totally legal.

* Government enforcing stay-at-home. Freedom! I want to go to the beach! I want to go to the spa! This is government overreach! It’s my body, it’s my right to not wear a mask. USA! USA! USA!

We live in strange times.

So, sorry, but there won’t be any protests for this censorship.


In what way do the three first points affect the daily life of the average American? There you have your answer. They protest if the topic affects them, as it's normal.

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We are moving that way, but it's not something that we can't start to reverse by changing the president in the upcoming election. I'm really stunned that so many republicans in congress go along with him. One after another, when they decide not to seek re-election come out against him, not all but many. Why are they so cowardly? It's very sad for me to see this as an American.

> I'm really stunned that so many Republicans in congress go along with him.

Trump is not a Republican, he is a Trumpist.

The Republican party wanted nothing to do with him, but when you're a billionaire with a national TV show and massive Twitter profile, you win.


It’s funny how quickly people forgot how none of the mainstream republicans wanted anything to do with Trump... until he was the only option left and they went with their only viable option to win (sounds familiar to this year’s democrat primaries doesn’t it? Although with even less internal resistance to the winning is more important than quality idea.)

What we’re witnessing in Congress and elsewhere is political survival. Politicians are masters at compromise and self survival. And power blocks have a way of closing ranks while their power remains, but the second it slips no one will care and they’ll eat him alive (just like how Bush was persona non grata for almost a decade, until his recent image revival by cynical democrats).

A recent poll of Americans using words to describe the president and one of the most popular words by right leaning Americans was ‘jerk’.

So many people draw huge conclusions simply because he was seen a least bad option in the minds of less than half the voting public, when the Democrat option was deeply unpopular (including judging by her prior repeated failed campaigns) and seen as untrustworthy.

The fact the next election is not a cake walk for democrats also says everything you need to know about the quality of the competition they managed to pull together against what should be the easiest adversary in modern history, with wall-to-wall negative coverage by the global press and endless attacks across social media... just like last time. But I guess it’s easier to make partisan platitudes than have nuance.


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Trump isn't any more Republican, The GOP just got more Trumpist..
pojntfx 13 days ago [flagged]

As an EU citizen, the US response to COVID-19 really is laughable. It's just that a lot of people die due to this ideological "but muh freedom" mentality.

Nationalistic flamewar is not welcome on HN regardless of which nation you are for or against. Please do not post like this here again.

Edit: would you please stop posting flamebait and/or unsubstantive comments generally? You've unfortunately been doing that repeatedly, and we eventually ban such accounts. If you wouldn't mind reviewing https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html and sticking to the rules when posting here, we'd be grateful.


As a Northern European, I wouldn't say that e.g. France's official response gives me the warm and fuzzies.

With literal criminal prosecution for moving in a safe way 20 kilometers from your house in a car, or even being outside at all for longer than the prescribed short walk, 100 meters away from anyone, government-led propaganda discrediting legitimate medical research in Marseilles, largely state-affiliated media with ownership stakes in Gilead fuelling criticism at the same research (while family members of politicians receive the exact same treatment that's being vilified), PPE stocks shipped away to China in the early stages of the pandemic...

Lockdown orders delayed in the face of all evidence in order to complete local elections, with the chief of police attributing the resulting spike in deaths afterwards to people violating the quarantine that was not yet in place, a police force that only shortly before the epidemic was beating up and tear-gassing nurses that were protesting their working conditions, a government that, as in the HIV/AIDS epidemic, takes the opportunity to pass laws protecting them against persecution even if it turns out they were objectively responsible for bad things that happened...

The federal response in the US has been absolutely laughable, and there's plenty of stuff to criticise on a state level as well, but there's blood on the hands of the authorities in parts of Europe as well.


As a EU citizen, I agree in general, but I wouldn't be so quick to judge it in this context. I'm betting that by the time the dust settles, we'll have plenty of similar stories uncovered all across Europe. Cooking books for various $reasons seem to be standard practice of (almost?) every government in this pandemic.

People like to define the US based on the worst thing any of the 50 states do, then compare to Europe by picking out what the most successful country there is doing.

As an EU citizen, I am still waiting for the EU response to COVID-19.

There won't be any, because EU is by design and vote not meant to have any response. We're not United Federation of Europe; the EU explicitly doesn't dictate medical policy across member states.

I'm closing 3 popups on every website I visit due to those not-policies not-dictated by not-EU.

Now I realize that cookies and IP-addresses gathered by Facebook are truly important things, unlike this tiny "flu-like" virus, but still...


You're closing 3 popups on every website because the authors of those websites are huge assholes. There is no need for a consent popup on a website unless the website is doing something shady. Perhaps the greatest failure of GDPR is that this point needs to be explained ad nauseam.

Anyway, this is irrelevant. EU was explicitly not meant to rule on healthcare-related matters for its member nations, so it's not ruling. That's a fact of the matter. Perhaps after all of this, people will vote to include healthcare into the EU's purview - and only then we'll be able to criticize its response to the next crisis.


No, those website authors are NOT assholes. They are providing awesome services I appreciate and take advantage of every day, otherwise I wouldn't visit them.

I don't know what you think they are doing shady, but it never bothered me. Until some EU-asshole decided to protect me from myself, I guess.

When everybody is breaking the law maybe it is the law that is broken, eh?


> They are providing awesome services I appreciate and take advantage of every day, otherwise I wouldn't visit them.

GDPR is there to ensure those awesome services aren't also taking advantage of you, by requiring them to disclose when they want to do so, and to ask you to explicitly agree to be taken advantage of. Clarity in business relationships is good, isn't it?

> When everybody is breaking the law maybe it is the law that is broken, eh?

Not necessarily, not when it's broken for profit and to the detriment of the parties that doesn't partake in that profit. Going by your law of reasoning, slavery and child labour should've never been banned (after all, "everyone" in plantations/factories would be found breaking that law), and environmental protections should've never existed either ("what do you say I can no longer dump toxic waste into the river?").


> GDPR is there to ensure those awesome services aren't also taking advantage of you

You still haven’t explained how exactly I was taken advantage of. Because I never had anything to complain about. On the contrary, I was quite happy until EU started "helping" me.

> Going by your law of reasoning, slavery and child labour should've never been banned

Are you really comparing logging visitor IP addresses to slavery, child labor and toxic waste???


> You still haven’t explained how exactly I was taken advantage of.

Every possible kind of data you radiate during your visit to such a site is collected and passed on to third parties that aggregate it to build a detailed profile of you, based on the information from sites you visit, services you use, games you play, places you shop, etc. That profile is nowadays primarily used to target you with advertising and direct marketing efforts - or, in other words, to suck money out of you, a little bit at a time. You're losing money because of this data collection - that's the primary reason for that collection in the first place - but it happens slowly and naturally, so you don't notice.

And then there's a good chance that such profile of you will eventually find its way to your insurance provider, healthcare provider, or that your government decides to take a step towards totalitarianism, and then they'll have everyone's digital twins available for the secret police for free. I agree that the last one is hypothetical, but not that hypothetical, all things considering.

> Are you really comparing logging visitor IP addresses to slavery, child labor and toxic waste???

No, I'm just showing the logical consequences of your "When everybody is breaking the law maybe it is the law that is broken, eh?" through examples that are a little bit more clear-cut.

Also, it's not "logging visitor IP" that causes the popup, it's "logging visitor IP, associating it with a bunch of UUIDs, and sending those UUIDs, along with whatever information the visitor's browser could gather and the server could give, to a bunch of third parties who also receive similar packets of information from other sites you visit". Also2, it's not "everybody", it's just businessmen. Normal people don't go around, record data about others without their knowledge or consent, and sell it to data brokers.


You're not being genuine here. The grand parent clearly states medical policies, which are not up to the EU to determine.

That the EU has the power to dictate policies in other areas is not relevant.


They dictate policies of all kinds that all members are meant to include in their local laws in a reasonable amount of time.

Yes, but the areas over which the EU has a say are clearly defined by the member states and healthcare isn't one of them.

So the fact that the EU creates policies on other topics isn't relevant to the COVID-19 situation.


It's well established within the EU that healthcare is a handled on a national level, so the EU won't respond to COVID-19 like the US does on a federal level.

The countries within the EU all have responded to COVID-19 in some way or another.


More like the other. In the western states whistleblowers on cases like this are immediately punished and the documents are being put down. While in the more eastern states even some government agencies are independent enough to criticise wrong policies or coverups. The few German whistleblowers were immediately silenced, in Austria there are several, still open in the public. The best are internal documents about the government expert commission, which had to resign, as the chancellor mostly cared about publicity, not so about facts or expertise. I'm sure the same happened in Germany, here a high ranking interior ministry manager complained about media damage control of the culprit politicians, which would essentially cause more deaths than less. Doctors don't dare to speek out to keep their jobs. The government expert board is wholly incompentent coming up with fantasy projections every new week which is immediately proven wrong when the real data is coming out in the next week. The gathered raw data is not public, kept private, only the wrong models and projections are being published daily. There are exact and good models by competing universities, but they are not used. Institutes are playing politics, not science. Government offices are not independent.

The EU response to covid-19 is in vaccine development (funded by the EU and helped by freedom of movement for scientists); temporary restrictions on travel into the EU for non-essential purposes; coordinated effort around reducing restrictions; joint procurement and provision of medical equipment and PPE; increased production of PPE; €160m for startups with innovative ideas to tackle covid-19; an EU wide data platform; support for businesses during and after lockdowns; support for education; relaxation of state aid rules to allow governments to support businesses; coordination of freight transport across Europe with priority for items in high need; etc etc.

There's a bunch more stuff.


I am an epidemiologist working in Switzerland, and while I regret that Americans (and sometimes Europeans) ignore the quarantine, I wouldn't expect total submission to the government directives. Economy is important, the issue is not single sided, political freedom is the most important thing we have in the Western world. People are free to ignore what their doctors are telling them, for example. What is getting me sad is the idea that there is no medical reasoning to introduce the restrictions. There _are_ valid medical reasons. Ask any hospital worker.

You can get fined for a dog trick, you dont have anything resembling freedom of speech, and your class system is easiest to see if you check who can defend themselves with useful tools. Lecturing us is pretty rich.

https://video.foxnews.com/v/6157380317001/

CDC #'s (yes, yes 2 weeks old yawn) https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nvss/vsrr/covid19/index.htm


So the government is lying. Thought only communist dictatorships did this.


The difference is that people living under dictatorship don't believe anything their government says.


Not to get in the way of a good mob with pitchforks, but so far this is just one persons claim. There’s no other evidence.

We don’t believe Joe Biden’s accuser without more evidence, why do we believe this lady automatically?


Imagine how different the comments would be if this article were about China...

I'm having trouble imagining the difference. I think people would still be claiming government corruption and hoping for accountability.

It's all fake data, anyway.

They're counting cancer patients that were given 30 days to live as COVID if they were positive when they died.




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