The secretary for the Kansas Department of Health and Education is in hot water for deceiving public officials in the state to get a statewide mask mandate instituted.
Secretary Lee Norman contrasted the disparity in coronavirus cases between counties in Kansas with mask mandates using an axis showing new cases within a range of 15-25 in counties with mask mandates and an axis with a range of 4-14 in counties without. That display was designed to appear that counties without mandates had more cases than counties with them.
If both data sets were placed on the same axis, the counties without mask mandates had fewer coronavirus cases than those with mandates.
"All of the improvement in the case development comes from those counties wearing masks," Norman said.
Michael Austin, the director of the Center for Entrepreneurial Government, blamed Norman for purposely misleading the public.
"At a time when the public needs government to provide sound conclusions with accurate information, it's unfortunate the Kansas Health Secretary knowingly deceived the public into justifying his narrative," Austin said.
Kansas House Majority Leader Dan Hawkins, a Republican, also criticized Norman, who was appointed to the secretary role by Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly.
"Gov. Kelly and her administration have failed Kansans time and again, but manipulating data to intentionally deceive the entire state is a new low," Hawkins said.
Hawkins added, "Tens of thousands of Kansans have lost their jobs and businesses as a direct result of Gov. Kelly's politics-first response to the COVID pandemic, and these individuals struggling to make ends meet deserve to know the truth. It is reprehensible for a public servant like Dr. Norman that we trusted to protect our health and safety in a nonpartisan way to intentionally spread misinformation. The Kelly administration has lost all credibility."
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