The director of the California Department of Public Health, Dr. Sonia Angell, resigned abruptly Sunday, Aug. 9, after it became apparent that a computer system “failure” was causing a major inaccuracy in reported statistics on the CCP Virus.
Angell, who was in office for less than a year, before resigning admitted in an email to the California Health and Human Services Agency that the number of coronavirus “cases” statewide may have been greatly underestimated due to incomplete data. Because of this, mortality rates are likely to be skewed as well.
According to the resignation letter to which CBSNews had access, Angell said goodbye cordially but gave no explanation for her abrupt withdrawal. In the letter she said, “Our department has been front and center in what has become an all-of-government response of unprecedented proportions to COVID-19.”
“In the final calculation, all of our work, in aggregate, makes the difference,” she wrote.
Gov. Gavin Newsom thanked Angell “for her service to the state and her work to help steer our public health system during this global pandemic, while never losing sight of the importance of health equity.”
Two days after Angell’s resignation, the California Department of Health began abruptly adding cases of infection to its public record, one week after state officials acknowledged that a data problem in late July had caused nearly 300,000 records to go missing from their health care system.
On Tuesday the state reported 12,500 confirmed cases, a sharp increase from its previous average of 14 days. But it was unclear on what dates the confirmed cases were found.
According to Fox News California, Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly said the backlog of cases would be applied to each date they were recorded so that California’s data tracking system would be accurate. But the additional numbers were included as part of the state total Tuesday, making it difficult to assess the overall infection rate and therefore altering the mortality statistics as well.
A spokeswoman for the California Department of Public Health, Ali Bay, said the data was still being processed and she couldn’t say when the reporting dates and positivity rates would be updated.
The data error is embarrassing for California, a state of more than 40 million people, especially at a time when statistics are the tool being used to make far-reaching decisions such as whether or not to reopen educational institutions, businesses, churches and public offices.
Newsom, who has repeatedly committed to making decisions based on data, dodged questions Monday about the Angell’s abrupt resignation.
What is known so far is that as many as 300,000 infectious disease test records were never recorded in state databases. While not all of these records involve cases of the CCP virus, many do, which means the state has been making decisions based on faulty information.
For months, Californians have been told that early efforts to flatten the curve had failed and that the death rate from increased infections was too high to reopen the state’s economy. However, it is now clear that the death rate is probably much lower than government officials have been claiming.