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Trump administration orders hospitals to stop sending COVID-19 data to the CDC

Published on 16/07/20 at 10:22am
Photo by Jim Gathany

The Trump administration has ordered hospitals to stop sending coronavirus patient data to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and instead to a central database in Washington, DC.

This was announced on the Department of Health and Human Services website, and this department will take over from the CDC to collect daily reports on the number of available beds and ventilators and other coronavirus related information.  Many health experts fear this will lead to the Trump administration either withholding data from the public or politicising it.

HHS officials say this will streamline data gathering which will in turn help the White House coronavirus task force in distributing personal protective equipment and the drug remdesivir. However, this centralised database will not be open to the public, which could drastically impact the work of researchers, modelers and health officials who use the current CDC data for these projections.

Going forward, the HHS had said all hospitals must report this coronavirus information directly to the central database which is ran by TeleTracking.

Jen Kates, the director of global health and H.I.V. policy with the Kaiser Family Foundation, said: “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. How will the data be protected? Will there be transparency, will there be access, and what is the role of the C.D.C. in understanding the data?”

Conor Kavanagh

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