By John Haughey
The Center Square
November 14, 2020

Covid 19

Florida has about 425,000 state employees, so it’s not every day that an entry-level, $40,000-a-year hire draws statewide media attention and scorn.

If that newly hired COVID-19 data analyst in the Florida Office of Policy and Budget (OPB) is a “ ‘sports guy’ moonlighting as a COVID-19 analyst” with no knowledge of immunology but an exhaustive history of spreading conspiracy theories and dismissing science, however, then observers notice.

Kyle Lamb, 40, a sports blogger, podcaster and Uber driver from Columbus, Ohio, has been hired by the OPB, an agency within the governor’s office, but has not as started his position in Tallahassee.

Among his Twitter and sports message board posts, Lamb repeatedly has posted claims that defy scientific evidence, such as masks don’t prevent COVID-19 from spreading, hydroxychloroquine can treat the virus, COVID-19 is less dangerous than the flu and isn’t dangerous for children, United Nations troops were occupying a local county fairgrounds in March and the pandemic is a “biowar” being waged by China.

On a website for a podcast he hosts, Lamb wrote, “Fact is, I’m not an ‘expert.’ I’m not a doctor, epidemiologist, virologist or scientist. I also don’t need to be. Experts don’t have all the answers, and we’ve learned that the hard way.”

Peppered throughout his social media posts is effusive praise for Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ pandemic policies, such as his refusal to issue a statewide mask mandate, which drew notice on Fox News in July.

Lamb tweeted Nov. 6 that he’d “officially accepted an offer to go work for Gov. Ron DeSantis … doing data analysis on several fronts for them including but not limited to COVID-19 research and other projects. I have no qualms about being a ‘sports guy’ moonlighting as a COVID-19 analyst.”

Word of Lamb’s hiring filtered through Ohio before it matriculated south, with one well-known epidemiologist issuing a warning to Floridians.

“Oh, lord. Sorry, Florida,” Kent State University College of Public Health epidemiologist Dr. Tara C. Smith tweeted. “Ohioans may have seen Kyle Lamb’s COVID conspiracy posts shared on social media – now he’s apparently gotten a job in the Sunshine State.”

Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, a prospective 2022 Democratic gubernatorial candidate, said in a statement Lamb is actually the perfect hire for an administration attempting to obscure its failure in addressing the pandemic.

“Cases are skyrocketing, and the governor continues undermining science,” Fried said. “Now he wants to hire a fringe sports blogger with no experience in epidemiology or data analysis just because he shares the governor’s negligent, misguided opinions?”

Ten of Florida’s 13 congressional Democrats in a letter to DeSantis demanded Thursday he un-hire Lamb.

“Given that Lamb is an unqualified conspiracy theorist, his role as a member of your COVID-19 response staff is inexplicable and grossly irresponsible, we call on you to immediately remove Lamb from this critical role,” the letter reads.

The letter contrasted Lamb’s hiring with the firing of Rebekah Jones, the geographic information system manager for FDOH’s Division of Disease Control and Health Protection who fostered controversy in May by claiming in a mass email to COVID-19 dashboard subscribers that the state was manipulating data.

Jones has a doctorate in geography from Florida State University, a master’s in geography and mass communication from Louisiana State University, and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Syracuse in geography and journalism.

“The firing of Jones, a qualified expert aiming to protect the well-being of Floridians, and the hiring of Kyle Lamb, an unqualified conspiracy theorist, leaves us with no choice, but to question your hiring practices and conclude that you are putting the health and safety of Floridians at risk,” the letter concludes.

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Ben Martin
Ben Martin
1 year ago

Has anyone noticed that the term “conspiracy theorist” is used as a pejorative for anyone who might engage in critical thinking or objective observation? When it comes to data manipulation one of the main perpetrators is the CDC with their instructions for how deaths should be coded. The financial incentives received by hospitals isn’t helping things either – is it?

Mary Libby
Mary Libby
1 year ago
Reply to  Ben Martin

I don’t believe getting paid for hospital care and treatment is considered a financial incentive.

Jay Kayne
Jay Kayne
1 year ago
Reply to  Mary Libby

Ben, Scott Jensen himself has said he is not aware of any fraud related to COVID-19 care. Instead of watching YouTube videos, I suggest you read what he said. Here is the source: https://www.factcheck.org/2020/04/hospital-payments-and-the-covid-19-death-count/.

Ben Martin
Ben Martin
1 year ago
Reply to  Mary Libby

To quote Scott Jensen – a physician and a Minnesota State Senator……

“”Hospital administrators might well want to see COVID-19 attached to a discharge summary or a death certificate. Why? Because if it’s a straightforward, garden-variety pneumonia that a person is admitted to the hospital for – if they’re Medicare – typically, the diagnosis-related group lump sum payment would be $5,000. But if it’s COVID-19 pneumonia, then it’s $13,000, and if that COVID-19 pneumonia patient ends up on a ventilator, it goes up to $39,000.”

Richard Norman Kurpiers
Richard Norman Kurpiers
1 year ago
Reply to  Ben Martin

While hospital administrators might well indeed want to see COVID-19 attached to a discharge summary or a death certificate for financial reasons, what they want has nothing to do with how the document(s) are completed. Physicians are responsible for authoring discharge summaries and death certificates. So unless you have proof that physicians are committing or are complicit in illegal activity by violating HIPAA laws, then this is nothing more than an unfounded conspiracy theory.

Ben Martin
Ben Martin
1 year ago

There is a little larceny in the hearts of men everywhere. Doctors are no different. And if the hospital gets paid when a death is presumed by covID, or when there is a comorbidity, a lot of Doctors probably have no problem following the instructions give to them by the CDC.

Jay Kayne
Jay Kayne
1 year ago
Reply to  Ben Martin

But Scott Jensen himself admitted that he saw NO fraud. Too bad you did not quote his full interview since it undermines your conspiracy narrative. SOURCE: https://www.factcheck.org/2020/04/hospital-payments-and-the-covid-19-death-count/

Ben Martin
Ben Martin
1 year ago
Reply to  Jay Kayne

Fraud? Conspiracy Narrative? The instructions given to Doctors by the CDC jukes the death count. The higher the count, the more money the hospital receives. Nothing complicated about it. Since the beginning of time rules and laws have been used to enrich one group of citizens over another.

Ben Martin
Ben Martin
1 year ago
Reply to  Ben Martin

The money given to hospitals comes from the taxpayer. Maybe it is time to defund hospitals and all the rest of the “medical industrial complex.”

Barnes Moore
Barnes Moore
1 year ago
Reply to  Ben Martin

No, but getting paid more for coding patients as COVID or that a death is caused by COVID is an incentive.

Ben Martin
Ben Martin
1 year ago
Reply to  Ben Martin

According to instructions that were on the CDC website deaths were to be coded as related to covID even it if was presumed or if there were comorbidities. Now that will inflate the death count – won’t it?

Mark Tomes
Mark Tomes
1 year ago

”Conspiracy theorist” to describe Lamb is used correctly in this case. He is promoting narratives that gave little or no basis in fact. While the CDC is working hard to pin down a moving target (the virus), people like DeSantis and Lamb only undermine health experts’ work to get this deadly virus under control.

Ben Martin
Ben Martin
1 year ago
Reply to  Mark Tomes

Mr Tomes, please be careful about those medical “experts.” It wasn’t too long ago that medical experts were recommending frontal lobotomies. Please do your own research and you may eventually conclude that all the hysteria and draconian social controls are tools to destroy the economy in an effort to usher in the “Great Reset.” If that Great Reset happens you may not like it. Travel will be restricted. Cash will be eliminated. All real property will be transferred to the privately owned for profit central banking systems of the world. And if a guy gets within 6 ft. of his girlfriend an alarm will go off and $1000 will be automatically deducted from his “Certificate Of Vaccination ID” (COVID) linked bank account.

Robert S. Warner, Jr.
Reply to  Ben Martin

All opinions are not equal, Ben. Your “opinion” here among them.

Ben Martin
Ben Martin
1 year ago

The idea that the privately held for profit banking systems of the world want to eliminate cash is not an opinion. It is a fact. Another fact is the many folks that have Marxist orientation are excited about the Great Reset that they hope will occur.

Thank God we are still capable of having different opinions. Let us hope that never changes. We are still a Constitutional Republic. The Bill of Rights was designed to protect the rights of the individual.

Ben Martin
Ben Martin
1 year ago
Reply to  Mark Tomes

Has anyone noticed the term “conspiracy theorist” is often used a pejorative against anyone who engages in critical thinking or objective observation? By all indications the fatality rate has been juked.

Barnes Moore
Barnes Moore
1 year ago

Question the person’s qualifications, but stop with the hyperbolic rhetoric and politicized talking points.

First, wearing masks properly can help reduce the spread of covid, but how many people actually wear and use them properly? Based on what I’ve witnessed, a small percentage, and given how too many people react to anything Trump, I would bet that if he had told everyone to start wearing masks when he put the travel ban on China, there would have been screams coming from the left about how ineffective masks are and that they may also be dangerous. Hydroxychloroquine is a case in point. As soon s Trump let it be known that he was using it, there was an immediate media backlash, even though this drug has been used for over 60 years to safely treat other diseases. There are now multiple studies available that show it is an effective treatment when used early and in the proper dosages.

While questions about this individual’s qualifications should certainly be asked (seeing his full CV would be helpful), statements like this “Lamb repeatedly has posted claims that defy scientific evidence, such as masks don’t prevent COVID-19 from spreading (masks do not “prevent” the spread, but when used correctly, reduce the risk of spread, when used incorrectly, may in fact cause more harm than good), hydroxychloroquine can treat the virus (it can), and isn’t dangerous for children (I don’t think you can find a study anywhere that does not show that children are far less vulnerable to COVID than any other age group).

https://wattsupwiththat.com/2020/05/11/distributed-denial-of-hcq-to-covid-19-victims/

https://wattsupwiththat.com/2020/11/09/vindication-of-hcq/

https://ourworldindata.org/mortality-risk-covid

Will Holder
Will Holder
1 year ago

Did he say what the Over/Under line was on Deaths by Christmas? 300,000? 350,000?

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