The latest COVID-19 data out of Florida on Thursday indicated an increase of 1,296 deaths from the total reported a day earlier.
Renowned author and high-profile liberal Stephen King misattributed that total to the number of deaths in Florida on Thursday. Those deaths did not all happen over the past day and span back weeks.
"1200 died of COVID yesterday in Florida. Not the total for a week or a month, but ONE SINGLE DAY," tweeted King late Friday morning.
The backdating of fatalities shows that more than 7,600 resident died in Florida in August, or a calculated average of 245 deaths per day, which was the deadliest month of the COVID-19 pandemic in the state, reported Local 10.
A Twitter user, who lists himself as a former FBI special agent in New York, replied: "Great example of confirmation bias Stephen King!"
"To the objective reader, this number seems statistically WAY out of whack," he said. "This should trigger the question in your mind, "can this be accurate?""
"Of course, 3 minutes of research reveals it is not," he added.
"Exactly right," wrote another. "It amazes me how people are willing to follow things that make no sense just because it fits the narrative they want. And Stephen King leaves this misinformation up when he must now know it is wrong."
According to the present data, only three COVID-19 deaths were reported in the state on Thursday, Sept. 9. Nine deaths were reported the prior day.
However, more deaths may be connected to the virus and assigned later for those respective days. This is down significantly from previous weeks, where daily death counts floated around 200 and 300 or more.
Last month, the state's health department switched from tallying deaths by the day they were verified to now tracking them by the date they passed away. The deaths typically take several days to be processed, so a single date's totals can slowly grow days later, and the day-by-day increases appear smaller at first.
The first Twitter user added in the Twitter thread: "[King] stressed 1200 [deaths] in a single day. The truth is closer to 245."
"What profession do you have where you can be THAT wrong and not get fired?" he posed to the public, further blasting King.
"You don't get to inflate a number by 500 [percent] and say, "well, it's still bad." Try that with your taxes next year and see how it goes," the Twitter user tweeted.
To the author's credit, King issued a correction of the earlier tweet, although he still criticized the DeSantis administration while half-conceding hours later:
"I'm wrong about the number of deaths in Florida due to COVID. Not 1200 in one day but over the course of one week, possibly more. I regret the error, but regret the DeSantis crew's failure to come to grips with the COVID virus even more."
Twitter still hasn't slapped a "misinformation" label on King's coronavirus tweet.
From the onset of the pandemic, Florida had 3,391,158 cases and 48,273 deaths tied to COVID-19, according to the latest CDC data. Another 12,386 new cases were reported since Wednesday.
New cases and hospitalizations had trended downward in recent days coming off the peak of the summer surge in August when more than 21,000 new infections were being reported per day on average. The seven-day moving average for new cases in the state is 14,297, the lowest since July 27.
On Thursday, 12,735 people were hospitalized with COVID-19 across Florida, according to the Florida Hospital Association. The batch of 1,296 deaths reported Thursday is shy of the record 1,338 added the previous Thursday. Another 1,064 deaths were reported in the CDC's data Monday.