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Florida’s Covid-19 Reporting Raises Serious Questions As To The Extent Of Outbreak

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Two prominent Florida hospitals in Orlando failed to report negative results of the novel coronavirus to the state, which produced inaccurate statistics regarding the number of infections in the state, according to an investigation conducted by a local Fox News affiliate in the region.

Fox News host Laura Ingraham interviewed Tuesday both the local reporter from Fox 35 news affiliate in Orlando, Florida, as well as, Dr. Charles Lockwood, the dean of the University of South Florda’s College of Medicine. He told the “The Ingraham Angle” Tuesday that Florida’s current increase in confirmed coronavirus cases doesn’t come close to what happened in New York and New Jersey.

The doctor said that although Florida’s case count has increased “sixfold since June 10,” neither the number of hospitalizations nor the number of deaths have been as high as other states, like New York.

“Deaths are definitely a lagging indicator,” said Lockwood, and as reported by Fox News.

“But we should now be seeing a much higher case fatality rate. It has been predicted that our fatality rate would kind of do a ‘U’ and be heading back up,” he added. “It’s not. In fact, today in Hillsborough County [where Tampa is located], our case fatality rate was 0.9 percent.”

FOX 35 News reported Tuesday that their reporters had noticed errors in the state’s report on positivity rates. According to the news site the Florida Department of Health admitted that some laboratories have not been reporting negative test result data to the state.

Not reporting the negative health results tremendously skews the statistics. It’s no wonder Americans are so confused as to what to do, or what to believe, with regard to the virus and the epidemic.

It also makes one wonder how many other hospitals and clinics have been making mistakes or failing to report the actual negative numbers.

For example, “countless labs have reported a 100 percent positivity rate, which means every single person tested was positive,” stated the news report.

That just can’t be accurate and for that very reason the news outlet began its investigation.

“Other labs had very high positivity rates,” the news outlet stated. “FOX 35 News found that testing sites like one local Centra Care reported that 83 people were tested and all tested positive. Then, NCF Diagnostics in Alachua reported 88 percent of tests were positive.”

From Fox 35 in Florida:

FOX 35 News went on to speak with the Florida Department of Health on Tuesday. They confirmed that although private and public laboratories are required to report positive and negative results to the state immediately, some have not. Specifically, they said that some smaller, private labs were not reporting negative test result data to the state. 

“The Department immediately began working with those labs to ensure that all results were being reported in order to provide comprehensive and transparent data,” a spokesperson for the Florida Department of Health said. “As the state continues to receive results from various labs, the Department will continue educating these labs on proper protocol for reporting COVID-19 test results.”

For more on this story go here.

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Economy

NY Lawmakers want to tax tech giants to get $500M to fund unemployment benefits for illegal migrants

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New York lawmakers are debating over a proposed Democratic initiative that would pave the way for a multibillion-dollar fund designed to provide unemployment benefits for illegal immigrants. Spearheaded by state Senator Jessica Ramos, a Queens Democrat, the proposal has ignited passionate discussions within the Senate Finance Committee, where it currently awaits further deliberation.

The Center Square reports the proposal would utilize a $500 million trust fund earmarked specifically to offer jobless benefits for individuals who find themselves ineligible for traditional unemployment payments and other public assistance programs. To finance this ambitious endeavor, proponents of the plan are advocating for the imposition of a novel tax targeting tech behemoths like Google and Amazon. This tax, aimed at digital advertising revenue, is projected to generate hundreds of millions of dollars to sustain the fund.

Ramos has alluded to her belief that migrants are a fundamental contribution to the state’s economy. Despite their authorization to work, payment of taxes, and active involvement in the labor force, undocumented immigrants face a glaring disparity—they are excluded from accessing vital safety nets like unemployment benefits if they lose their jobs.

In a social media post, Ramos cited the expiration of federal unemployment insurance for freelancers and the depletion of the Excluded Workers Fund. She argues vehemently for a safety net aligned with the evolving dynamics of the labor market, one that extends support to all workers, regardless of their immigration status.

The proposed fund, aptly named the Unemployment Bridge Program, outlines comprehensive eligibility criteria encompassing a spectrum of marginalized workers—from undocumented migrants to freelancers and individuals recently released from incarceration or immigrant detention. By establishing clear guidelines and procedures, the program endeavors to streamline the application process, ensuring equitable access to unemployment benefits for those in need.

The initiative comes in the wake of prolonged deliberations regarding jobless benefits for undocumented immigrants and nontraditional workers in New York. Amid the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, the state previously allocated $2.1 billion to the Excluded Workers Fund, offering a lifeline to those excluded from conventional unemployment benefits.

Gov. Kathy Hochul’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2025 underscores a commitment to supporting asylum seekers, with significant allocations directed towards housing and legal assistance. The proposal has met with opposition from Republicans, who argue for prioritizing legal residents and taxpayers in the allocation of state resources. Senate Minority Leader Rob Ortt contends that limited resources should be reserved exclusively for those who have contributed to the state’s tax base.

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