Frustrated with the way the Florida Department of Health and various news outlets report COVID-19 deaths and hospital capacity, two researchers at Florida Atlantic University created their own COVID-19 tracker.
Finance Professor Dr. Rebel Cole and Ph.D. student Jon Taylor launched their COVID-19 site this week.
"A lot of the existing COVID trackers don't really present the information in a coherent and comprehensive manner, so we think we are filling that niche," said Dr. Cole.
The FAU tracker provides statewide information and Palm Beach County specific data.
Cole and Taylor plan to expand the tracker to include surrounding counties.
"People can download the data directly [from the FAU graphs], and that is not available in the Florida [DOH] dashboard," said Taylor.
Some of the key differences between the Florida DOH dashboard and the FAU tracker are the death graphs and hospitalization trends.
The FAU graph shows deaths organized by date of death, as opposed to the date the death was reported to the state.
It may sound like a small change, but the FAU graph shows how deaths are more spread out over time.
According to the FAU chart, Florida has never had a day with more than 101 deaths.
"There is a lot of misinformation about deaths in Florida," said Cole. "The [DOH] reports an increase in cumulative deaths, not deaths that took place that day. We are presenting data on the date of death to inform the public. The [rise in death] has been much less dramatic and not at all in keeping with the skyrocketing number of cases."
For ICU bed capacity, the FAU tracker shows trends over time.
Their data indicates the number of ICU beds available over several days has remained relatively stable.
They also separate COVID beds and non-COVID beds in their graphs.
"There is no indication our health system is overwhelmed," said Taylor.