Overseas Network, December 8th – Rebecca Jones, a former health department worker in Florida, said on Twitter that after she was fired for refusing to “manipulate” state epidemic data, she was recently raided by the police at gunpoint, and even the mobile phone and computer she used to publish the epidemic data were confiscated.
Data scientist Rebecca Jones built the state’s acclaimed statistical model of COVID-19 cases while serving at the Florida Department of Health, USA Today reports. Jones believes that she was fired because she refused to accept data review by the authorities to “comply with” the state’s plan to lift the blockade. After leaving in May, she continued to update the epidemic data on the website she founded.
Jones’ video posted on Twitter showed that on the morning of December 7th, local time, at least five policemen entered her home one after another, pulled her out of the door, pulled out and pointed to the stairs, and ordered her husband and children to go downstairs: “Do you want your child? Let them all come down!” Jones said that even her children were pointed at by the police.
Jones said the equipment she used to release data on school cases in Florida and across the country was confiscated, which police claimed was about violations and evidence of corruption.” This is the end of scientists who do things with conscience. She wrote angrily.
The Florida Law Enforcement Agency (FDLE) subsequently issued a statement confirming the equipment searched at Jones’s house, saying that the agents were investigating. It is reported that the state law enforcement department received a report from the Ministry of Health in November that an information system in the emergency warning system was illegally used, and that the search for Jones’ equipment was part of the investigation.
U.S. media said that the search was not the first time that the local government intervened in the release of epidemic data. Back in an email sent to other researchers and users on December 4, Jones warned that access to and transparency of the data could change. “They are making a lot of changes, and I suggest you be cautious when using the data specifically.”
The video of Jones being “home raided” reached 1.9 million views on Twitter. “Don’t wonder why so many Americans have not realized the severity of the epidemic. Let’s see how they treat scientists who report facts like prisoners.” An American netizen commented.
“If DeSantis (the current governor of Florida) feels like pointing a gun at my head would shut me up, he’d know how far he’s wrong,” Jones said firmly in response to a comment from netizens, and I’ll continue working tomorrow with a new computer.”