FDOH daily reports lag days, weeks behind actual deaths

A reader analyzed the COVID-19 deaths using the state’s case line report and found that the Florida Department of Health’s daily reports for county lags days, and maybe weeks,  behind when the deaths actually happened.

“There is a significant difference between the daily reported deaths and the dates of death,” he wrote. “It may be weeks after a death before it is included in reports.”

The delay in reporting deaths has given Escambia County Commissioners and the public a false picture what was really happening in the community.  The false sense of security may have impacted the commissioners’ decisions about how to combat the spread of the virus throughout the county.

When the Board of County Commissioner voted to reopen  Pensacola Beach and Perdido Key beaches on April 28, FDOH reported Escambia County only had 11.   Actually the county had 24 deaths.

When Governor Ron DeSantis reopened bars and restaurants to 50% capacity on June 5, FDOH’s county report showed Escambia had 36.  The true number was 46.

On July 2, the Escambia County approved its “Mask Up” marketing campaign, rather than making face mask mandatory.  FDOH reported 46 deaths.  The county had 74 deaths.

On August 6, Commissioner Lumon May’s motion for a mask mandate died without a second.  FDOH listed the county’s death toll at 115. The actual total was 137.

County Rpt Actual
March 0 5
April 11 27
May 22 12
June 11 24
July 53 63
Aug 40 6
137 137


Inweekly will continue to report the deaths as FDOH does daily, but with the understanding the daily number  represents what the agency has entered into the system that day and not the actual deaths that occurred on that date.


2 thoughts on “FDOH daily reports lag days, weeks behind actual deaths

  1. Steve,

    Do you know what the biggest difference between the pandemics of 1957, 1968, and 2020 is?

    1957 and 1968 are in the past. That means the pandemics that occurred in those two years are done infecting and killing people and the data is stable.

    August 13, 2020 is in the present. That means the pandemic that is occurring in the here and now is not finished infecting and killing people and the data is still rising.

    Thank you for your above comment, which makes very clear how quickly this current pandemic is catching up with two previous pandemics that covid deniers used to illustrate this one isn’t serious. Now it seems the best argument is that it’s equal.

    Check your watch; note the date. Run those same numbers again in two weeks and put up the comparison.

  2. Data from CDC:

    1957 pandemic (H2N2) (U.S. Population 172 million) – 116,000 deaths = .07% of population, 674 deaths/1 million

    1968 pandemic (H3N2) (U.S. Population 201 million) – 100,000 deaths = .05% of population, 497 deaths/1 million

    2020 pandemic (U.S. Population 331 million) – 162,000 deaths = .05% of population, 491 deaths/1 million

    They didn’t shut the country down and decimate the economy for the ’57 or ’68 pandemics.

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