COVID-19 data and contact tracing spurred ugly political disputes

Public health wasn’t always given priority in the country’s coronavirus response efforts this year. At the state level, that was illustrated most starkly by an ongoing dispute between Rebekah Jones, a former Florida state government health data official, and Gov. Ron DeSantis. Jones claimed DeSantis fired her for refusing to manually alter data to support DeSantis’ efforts to reopen the state’s economy during the early days of the pandemic. The state said she was fired for “a repeated course of insubordination.” Earlier this week, state police raided Jones’ home as part of an investigation into her allegedly unauthorized use of the state’s incident planning platform.

Some contact tracing efforts meanwhile, particularly those that track the whereabouts of users in real time, have received either lukewarm reception or outright protest

Colin Wood

Written by Colin Wood

Colin Wood is the editor in chief of StateScoop and EdScoop. He's reported on government information technology policy for more than a decade, on topics including cybersecurity, IT governance and public safety.

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