MIAMI (NewsNation Now) — Whether it is through state-run online dashboards, or the popular Johns Hopkins University coronavirus website — Americans have gotten used to tracking COVID-19 numbers in real-time.
In Florida, the state website updates daily with the total number of COVID-19 cases, deaths, and hospitalizations.
But Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is considering no longer releasing coronavirus numbers daily.
“There are discussions ongoing as to when the best time to scale back the report frequency. The reasoning behind it is because it requires 24 hour staffing. Information won’t change and quality of the data will remain paramount,” DeSantis’ press secretary Cody McCloud wrote in an email to NewsNation Tuesday.
McCloud did not provide details about when a decision might be made — or if the state will start reporting cases on a weekly basis.
Northwestern University epidemiologist Dr. Sadiya Khan says it is important that states report their COVID-19 numbers daily.
“I wish I could say that the case was we had made a lot of progress, and we didn’t need this information on a daily basis. Unfortunately, patterns are starting to shift in the wrong direction. We are seeing that around the country. That suggests this might not be the right time to scale back,” Dr. Khan said.
Gathering daily COVID-19 data is a time consuming process in a large state like Florida.
Results from testing sites, laboratories, and hospitals throughout the entire state have to be sorted and double-checked for irregularities every single day.
State numbers are what epidemiologists from universities around the country use to track the virus on a larger scale.
“It is really important for all of us to have a sense of what the numbers look like and what is happening. You don’t want just your health officials or governor, or doctors to have that information. You want everyone to have access to that information,” Dr. Khan said.