Gov. Ron DeSantis and the state of Florida are under fire after the American Journal of Public Health published research earlier this month, arguing that the state has undercounted the number of people who died from COVID-19.
The research results, entitled Analysis of Excess Deaths During the COVID-19 Pandemic in the State of Florida, were published on March 10 and suggested that Florida experienced 4,924 excess deaths that possibly should have been counted as resulting from COVID-19 but ultimately were not, according to Yahoo News. This would have lowered the state’s COVID fatality rate, as some who die from COVID-19 may have had diabetes or asthma at their time of death.
“Total deaths are significantly higher than historical trends in Florida even when accounting for COVID-19–related deaths,” researchers wrote. “The impact of COVID-19 on mortality is significantly greater than the official COVID-19 data suggest.”
Over 30,000 residents have reportedly died from COVID in Florida since the start of the pandemic last year. The state was accused last year of trying to keep governor-appointed medical examiners from releasing complete coronavirus data.
Moosa Tatar, a public health economist at the University of Utah, led the research on excess deaths and said that the team chose Florida based on the timeframe that the governor lifted restrictions.
“I am sure that COVID-19 is responsible for most of these excess deaths,” Tatar said.
Meanwhile, Florida continues to be open for business, despite some reports that the state is on the verge of another surge, especially among young people.