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Florida officials admit counting MOTORCYCLE death as Covid-19 fatality, remove it from list after media scrutiny

Florida officials admit counting MOTORCYCLE death as Covid-19 fatality, remove it from list after media scrutiny
Officials in Orange County, Florida have confirmed that a motor accident death was initially included into the coronavirus death toll. It was later struck off the list, but not until authorities were challenged by the media.

Florida Department of Health in Orange County announced on Saturday that it no longer counts the death of a man aged in his 20s in a motorcycle accident as a coronavirus fatality.

The case “was reviewed and he was taken off the list for Covid fatalities,” Kent Donahue, spokesman for Orange County Health Officer Dr Raul Pino, told Fox35, which initially broke the story after perusing lists of official Covid-19 victims provided by the state.

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In its report on Thursday, the Fox News subsidiary said that they stumbled upon several oddities when combing through the data, and decided to confront Pino about the deaths of two young individuals in their 20s that stood out from the rest.

Perhaps to their surprise, journalists got a straight-up admission from Pino that the death was included into the coronavirus toll in an apparent blunder.

“The first one didn’t have any... the first one, he died in a motorcycle accident,” he said. When asked whether the county removed the man’s death off the list of Covid-19 fatalities, Pino raised even more eyebrows, saying that they “were arguing... with the state” about the issue.

“We were arguing, discussing, or trying to argue with the state. Not because of the numbers. It’s 100… it doesn’t make any difference if it's 99. But the fact that the individual didn’t die from Covid-19… died in a crash.”

The official then appeared to backtrack on his initial comment, saying that one could theoretically argue that the fact that the man was Covid-19 positive could have led to the crash.

But you could actually argue that it could have been the Covid-19 that caused him to crash. I don’t know the conclusion of that one.

Orange County, meanwhile, set a new record in coronavirus deaths in a single day with as many as 14 fatalities having been reported on Saturday. Its previous record was nine lethal cases within 24 hours. Nearby Marion County also broke its own record for a single-day Covid-19 death toll, reporting eight fatalities.

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Overall, Florida reported 10,327 positive coronavirus cases on Saturday, bringing the total number of infections in the state to 337,568, including 4,895 who died from the virus.

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