Earlier this week, Florida state health officials informed that Florida has been hit with 500 reported deaths due to the coronavirus.
However, NBC 6 found that when analyzing the data reported by the Florida Department of Health, the date itself is now being questioned over some COVID-19 deaths that are not being counted by the state.
When asked about the possible discrepancy in the number of deaths that are being reported, Dr. Craig Mallak, Broward County’s Chief Medical Examiner, expressed that “they only include certain cases as ‘Broward’ cases even though they die here in Broward.” He added, “but how they do that is a mystery to me.”
In response, the Florida Department of Health explained that it is counting all individuals who have passed away and tested positive for COVID-19 even if the coronavirus was not the cause of their death.
In Miami-Dade County, the state reported 97 COVID-19 related deaths while the county medical examiner’s office reported 138 deaths. In Broward County, the state listed 76 deaths while the medical examiner’s office reported 97.
"NBC 6 Investigators learned that the Florida Department of Health asked Miami-Dade authorities to not release records that show the deaths in the county. These records had been requested by NBC 6 through a public records request.
“I’m writing to advise you that the county would like to honor the Florida Department of Health’s request that the Requested Documents not be disclosed, while also protecting the county from any liability as the public records requests were directed to the county,” Miami-Dade County Attorney, Abigail Price Williams wrote in a letter to the department's general counsel."