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Florida man in his 20s listed among COVID-19 fatalities — but health officer says he died in motorcycle crash


'But you can actually argue that it could have been the COVID-19 that caused him to crash'

Image source: WOFL-TV video screenshot

While Florida listed a man in his 20s as among the state's COVID-19 fatalities, a county health officer told WOFL-TV that the man died in a motorcycle crash.

What are the details?

The station was looking into records that showed two individuals in their 20s as coronavirus fatalities and asked Orange County Health Officer Dr. Raul Pino if either person had any underlying conditions.

Pino's on-camera reply to WOFL?

"The first one didn't have any. He died in a motorcycle accident," he said.

The station then asked Pino if the man's data was removed.

"I don't think so. I have to double-check," Pino replied to WOFL. "We were arguing, we were discussing, and trying to argue with the state. Not because of the numbers — I mean, it's a hundred; it [doesn't] make any difference if it's 99. But ... the fact that the individual ... didn't die from COVID-19, died in [the] crash. But you can actually argue that it could have been the COVID-19 that caused him to crash. So I don't know the conclusion of that one."

Orange County Health Officer Dr. Raul PinoImage source: WOFL-TV video screenshot

The station said in its report that there were still two people in their 20s on Orange County's list of coronavirus deaths.

Image source: WOFL-TV video screenshot

Is there a contradiction afoot?

WOFL said the Florida Department of Health sent it a statement to clarify that a "COVID death" is determined if "COVID-19 is listed as the immediate or underlying cause of death, or listed as one of the significant conditions contributing to death. Or, if there is a confirmed COVID-19 infection from a lab test — and the cause of death doesn't meet exclusion criteria — like trauma, suicide, homicide, overdose, motor-vehicle accident, etc."

Pino added to the station that "the only thing that I could say to people is the data I provide you with is the data we consume from the state, and we offer you ... the best data that we have."

In addition, Pino told WOFL that the medical examiner has to certify all COVID-19 deaths. The station said it reached out to that office and had not heard back.

Anything else?

WOFL in a separate report earlier this week noted that while the Florida Department of Health has said "countless" coronavirus testing sites across the state have reported a near 100% positivity rate for COVID-19, the reality was far different in some cases.

For example, state data showed that Orlando Health, a local hospital, had a 98% COVID-19 positivity rate — but when the station reached out to the hospital, officials said their positivity rate was only 9.4%.

State reports also claimed Orlando VA Medical Center had a positivity rate of 76% — but the hospital told WOFL its positivity rate was only 6%.

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