Democrats have urged Republican governors including Ron DeSantis to resume COVID-19 reporting.

Several states had scaled back their reporting of COVID-19 statistics this month just as cases across the country started to skyrocket, depriving the public of real-time information on outbreaks, cases, hospitalizations and deaths in their communities.

The shift to weekly instead of daily reporting in Florida, Nebraska, Iowa and South Dakota - all led by Republican governors - marked a notable shift during the pandemic.


Coronavirus dashboards have become a staple for Americans closely tracking case counts and trends to navigate a crisis that has killed more than 600,000 people in the United States.

When Florida changed the frequency of its virus reporting earlier this month, officials said it made sense given the decreasing number of cases and the increasing number of people being vaccinated.

Cases started soaring soon after, and Florida earlier this week made up one-fifth of the country's new coronavirus infections. 

As a result, Florida's weekly releases - typically done on Friday afternoons - have consequences for the country's understanding of the current summer surge, with no statewide COVID stats coming out of the virus hotspot for six days a week.

Democrats have urged Republican governors including Ron DeSantis to resume COVID-19 reporting after states scaled back just as cases surged.

Democrats have urged Republican governors including Ron DeSantis to resume COVID-19 reporting after states scaled back just as cases surged. 

Nebraska Gov. Pete Rickets points to vaccination statistics during a news conference in Lincoln in January. The state had actually stopped reporting on the virus altogether for two weeks after Gov. Pete Ricketts declared an end to the official virus emergency

Nebraska Gov. Pete Rickets points to vaccination statistics during a news conference in Lincoln in January. The state had actually stopped reporting on the virus altogether for two weeks after Gov. Pete Ricketts declared an end to the official virus emergency

Cases in Florida are on the rise - but the state has scaled back its reporting to weekly updates (pictured) rather than a live data dashboard

Cases in Florida are on the rise - but the state has scaled back its reporting to weekly updates (pictured) rather than a live data dashboard

Johns Hopkins University data shows that Florida is seeing a sudden spike in cases to rival the peak in January

Johns Hopkins University data shows that Florida is seeing a sudden spike in cases to rival the peak in January

In Florida's last two weekly reports, the number of new cases shot up from 23,000 to 45,000 and then 73,000 on Friday, an average of more than 10,000 day. Hospitals are starting to run out of space in parts of the state.

With cases rising, Democrats and other critics have urged state officials and Gov. Ron DeSantis to resume daily outbreak updates.

'There was absolutely no reason to eliminate the daily updates beyond an effort to pretend like there are no updates,' said state Rep. Anna Eskamani, a Democrat from the Orlando area.

Rep. Carlos Smith tweeted that: 'It's past time for @GovRonDeSantis to reinstate daily COVID reporting of infections, positivity rates, hospitalizations, deaths + other data. Floridians need information to keep their families safe.'

'It's INSANE Floridians no longer have access to DAILY data. Parents wanna know how many kids are infected with the COVID delta variant in their county,' he added.

'How can they make informed decisions on whether to mask up their child in school without info @GovRonDeSantis?'

In Nebraska, the state actually stopped reporting on the virus altogether for two weeks after Gov. Pete Ricketts declared an end to the official virus emergency.


The move forced news reporters to file public records requests or turn to national websites that track state data to learn about COVID statistics. The state backtracked two weeks later and came up with a weekly site that provides some basic numbers.

Dr. Mark Rupp, an infectious disease specialist with Nebraska Medicine, told KOLN that removing the dashboard is 'a real problem.'

'Dismantling the dashboard and preventing the widespread dissemination of accurate information and transparency is a problem,' he said. 'This was ill-timed, ill-considered and unfortunately, somewhat reckless.'

The trend of reducing data reporting has also alarmed other infectious disease specialists who believe that more information is better during a pandemic. 

People have come to rely on state virus dashboards to help make decisions about whether to attend large gatherings or wear masks in public, and understanding the level of risk in the community affects how people respond to virus restrictions and calls to get vaccinated.

HOLLYWOOD: Medical Assistant Maria Perez, left, gives a vaccine shot to 4 year-old Julia Mattamira of Pasadena during the Saban Community Clinic annual back-to-school vaccination drive at Melrose Family Health Center in Hollywood on Thursday

HOLLYWOOD: Medical Assistant Maria Perez, left, gives a vaccine shot to 4 year-old Julia Mattamira of Pasadena during the Saban Community Clinic annual back-to-school vaccination drive at Melrose Family Health Center in Hollywood on Thursday

RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA: Anti-vaccine protesters rally against coronavirus restriction on Saturday

RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA: Anti-vaccine protesters rally against coronavirus restriction on Saturday

NEW YORK: Anti-vaccine protesters gather and march during a demonstration on Saturday

NEW YORK: Anti-vaccine protesters gather and march during a demonstration on Saturday


Dr. Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo, who leads the department of epidemiology and biostatistics at the University of California, San Francisco, said: 'We know that showing the data to others actually is important.'

'The actions that businesses take, the actions that schools take, the actions that civic leaders take, the actions that community leaders take, the actions that each of us individually take are all influenced by our perception of what the risk is out there,' she said.


But reporting the numbers on a weekly basis still allows people to see the overall trends while smoothing out some of he day-to-day variations that come from the way cases are reported and not the actual number of new cases. 

And experts have long advised that it makes sense to pay more attention to the seven-day rolling average of new cases because the numbers can vary widely from one day to the next.

And Florida health officials say that they have not curtailed the sharing of data with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Maintaining daily updates on the virus does require significant resources for states. For instance, Kansas went to reporting virus numbers three times a week in May because the state health department said providing daily statistics consumed too much time for its already overwhelmed staff.

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