Public Health Experts Criticize Trump Admin’s Attempt to Bypass CDC on COVID-19 Data

Public health experts are pushing back against the Trump administration’s move to bypass the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on data reporting as the coronavirus continues to rage.

Many have taken to Twitter in the wake of recent developments regarding the availability of information on hospitalizations.

The CDC dashboard that previously offered detailed information on hospitalizations and ICU capacity now displays a notification that indicates the content is no longer available.

The White House recently said that hospitals are to report their information regarding coronavirus to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), rather than to the CDC’s National Healthcare Safety Network. It took effect on Wednesday.

Now, doctors and public health experts are speaking out to raise awareness about the danger associated with the Trump administration’s attempt to bypass the infectious disease experts.

Dr. Thomas File Jr. — who serves as president of the Infectious Diseases Society of America (ISDA) — released a statement raising concerns about the impact of changes in the way data is collected.

“Placing medical data collection outside of the leadership of public health experts could severely weaken the quality and availability of data, add an additional burden to already overwhelmed hospitals and add a new challenge to the U.S. pandemic response,” File said.

Dr. Howard Koh, former Department of Health and Hospitals (HHS) assistant secretary for health under the Obama administration, also weighed in with questions about the reason for the need to overhaul the entire database instead of implementing small improvements.

He also tweeted, “Updating health data systems is important for [COVID-19] response, but the dramatic and disruptive nature of this announcement raises critical questions about timing, transparency, accessibility, accountability.”

ER doctor and frontline healthcare worker Dr. Rob Davidson also raised concerns bout transparency.

He tweeted, “This is an outrage that must get more attention: [Donald Trump] is now stopping the CDC from providing the public with data re: how many Americans are being hospitalized due to [COVID 19], in an effort to downplay the crisis. As a doctor, this is horrifying [and] will cost lives.”

See other reactions below:

In wake of growing concern about transparency, Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) called on the Trump administration to make an effort to justify the order, as she noted how it could lead to yet another set back for the United States.

“The Trump Administration is going to have to give a full justification for this, because until they do, it’s hard to see how this step won’t further sideline public health experts and obscure the severity of this crisis,” Murray tweeted.

Although the White House has yet to release a statement with full justification for the order, Michael Caputo — Department of Health and Hospitals (HHS) assistant secretary for public affairs — insists the CDC’s system is “inadequate” for today’s pandemic.

“The CDC’s old data-gathering operation once worked well monitoring hospital information across the country,” Caputo said, adding, “But it’s an inadequate system today.” 

CDC director Dr. Robert Redfield also insisted access to data would not be “taken away.”

“No one is taking access or data away from CDC,” Redfield said, later adding, “All elements of our public health system are being stretched right now, and streamlining the hospital reporting allows the NHSN to concentrate its COVID-19 activities on this high priority area of protecting the vulnerable in our nursing homes.”

As of Thursday afternoon, there are more than 3.6 million confirmed coronavirus cases in the United States as the death toll is over 140,000.

Responses

  1. This move alone is disqualifying for the “leader” of any country to be re-elected, let alone ours.

    #outnow
    refusefascism.org

    And Matt Gaetz is a tool.

Comments are closed.