In a move that surprised many health officials, the Trump administration has ordered all data regarding the treatment of coronavirus patients to be sent directly to the Department of Health and Human Services instead of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In light of Donald Trump’s claims the virus death count figures have been ‘inflated,‘ health experts worry the data could be distorted for political gain.
From the New York Times:
The new instructions are contained in a little-noticed document posted this week on the Department of Health and Human Services’ website, Sheryl Gay Stolberg reports. From now on, H.H.S., and not the C.D.C., will collect daily reports about the patients that each hospital is treating, how many beds and ventilators are available, 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 the drug remdesivir. Some hospital officials welcome the move, saying it will relieve them of responding to requests from multiple federal agencies, though others said the C.D.C. should be collecting the data.
“The C.D.C. is the right agency to be at the forefront of collecting the data,” said Dr. Bala Hota, the chief analytics officer at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago.
Public health experts have long expressed concerns that the administration is politicizing science and undermining the disease control centers; four former C.D.C. directors, spanning both Republican and Democratic administrations, said as much in an opinion piece published Tuesday in The Washington Post. The data collection shift reinforced those fears.
“Then I see the disinfectant where it knocks it out in a minute. Is there a way we can do something like that, by injection inside or almost a cleaning, cos you see it gets on the lungs and does a tremendous number on it. Can you check that?” pic.twitter.com/rOXY9a8A5l
— Jelle Simons (@jelle_simons) July 14, 2020