The Trump administration has instructed all hospitals to send COVID-19 patient information to a central database in Washington D.C. and bypass the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention starting Wednesday.
In a document on the Department of Health and Human Services website, instructions were for the HHS to provide the department, not the CDC with all COVID-19 case reports that come from hospitals relevant to the coronavirus pandemic.
“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," Jen Kates, the director of global health and H.I.V. policy with the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation told The New York Times. “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?”
Officials say the new data gathering will help the White House coronavirus task force in allocating supplies such as medications, protective gear, and more.
According to the Times, CDC officials were the last to know of the new direction.
The note on the HHS website reads in part: “As of July 15, 2020, hospitals should no longer report the Covid-19 information in this document to the National Healthcare Safety Network site,” the C.D.C.’s system for gathering data from more than 25,000 medical centers around the country.