"Hospitals have been ordered to bypass the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and send all patient information to a central database in Washington, raising questions about transparency."
The Trump administration is ordering hospitals around America to bypass the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, and send COVID-19 info to a database that is not open to the public, with access to reporters and researchers unlikely and unclear.
Beginning on Wednesday, hospitals are told they must send all Covid-19 patient information to a central database in Washington, rather than the CDC.
This is highly unusual, and the New York Times reports "The move has alarmed health experts who fear the data will be politicized or withheld from the public."
The new instructions were posted recently in a little-noticed document on the Department of Health and Human Services website. From now on, the department — not the C.D.C. — will collect daily reports about the patients that each hospital is treating, the number of available beds and ventilators, and other information vital to tracking the pandemic.
Officials say the change will streamline data gathering and assist the White House coronavirus task force in allocating scarce supplies like personal protective gear and remdesivir, the first drug shown to be effective against the virus. But the Health and Human Services database that will receive new information is not open to the public, which could affect the work of scores of researchers, modelers and health officials who rely on C.D.C. data to make projections and crucial decisions.
"Historically, C.D.C. has been the place where public health data has been sent, and this raises questions about not just access for researchers but access for reporters, access for the public to try to better understand what is happening with the outbreak," said Jen Kates, the director of global health and H.I.V. policy with the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation.
"How will the data be protected?" she asked. "Will there be transparency, will there be access, and what is the role of the C.D.C. in understanding the data?"
Read more at the New York Times:
Trump Administration Strips C.D.C. of Control of Coronavirus Data
I had hoped it was a glitch, but no…The @CDCgov hospital capacity dashboard has gone dark. @CDCDirector has said CDC still has access to the data but apparently the public no longer does. pic.twitter.com/FyRt7YHvKc
— Charles Ornstein (@charlesornstein) July 16, 2020
By ordering hospitals not to send COVID19 data to @CDCgov, the Trump Admin is rejecting transparency and undermining the public health officials & agencies we should be listening to.
The WH fatally mishandled COVID19. Now they're trying to hide the numbers from the public. https://t.co/THGmQFyZ9X
— Rep. Nadler (@RepJerryNadler) July 16, 2020
We're in the middle of the worst pandemic in 100 years. More than 137,000 Americans have died. Covid is exploding in Arizona, Texas, South Carolina, Florida, and other states. And the administration has chosen to sideline the CDC. Where did this data go? https://t.co/NEErh7Nbbw
— Dr. Tom Frieden (@DrTomFrieden) July 16, 2020
NEW: Trump administration is stripping C.D.C. of control of coronavirus data. Hospitals will now report info directly to DC. Health experts are alarmed.
C.D.C. will take part in data collection, HHS spox says: "They will simply no longer control it." https://t.co/q0dkgnwNoY
— Sheryl Gay Stolberg (@SherylNYT) July 15, 2020
Putin would be proud https://t.co/P1zYuWEyZA
— Eric Boehlert (@EricBoehlert) July 16, 2020