Health officials are perplexed by the Trump Administration’s new guidance on reporting coronavirus data.
According to CNN, hospitals and clinical labs across the United States of America have been notified, through a new guidance and FAQ document, to send data on coronavirus patients to the White House and Trump Administration instead of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. After the New York Times broke the story, Michael Caputo, the assistant secretary for public affairs, confirmed the change. He said this “new faster and complete data system is what our nation needs to defeat the coronavirus and the CDC, an operating division of HHS, will certainly participate in this streamlined all-of-government response. They will simply no longer control it.”
“The CDC’s old hospital data gathering operation once worked well-monitoring hospital information across the country, but it’s an inadequate system today,” Caputo added.
Despite Caputo’s words, some have expressed concern with this new change.
“I worry greatly about cutting CDC out of these reporting efforts,” said Jennifer Nuzzo, an epidemiologist with the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health’s Center for Health Security, told the Washington Post. “I see little benefit from separating reporting of hospitalizations from reporting of cases, which CDC currently coordinates.”
“What logic does this have, other than to take away the data from the epidemiologists that are the best in the world at looking at this data, making sense of it, translating it for people, versus giving it to HHS,” said CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta on CNN’s “New Day” program.
In addition, the White House has suggested that hospitals utilize the National Guard with daily data submissions. This suggestion specifically has annoyed health officials. It symbolizes the constantly changing instructions from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services concerning the fight against the coronavirus.
As the Hill reports, this move also adds to concerns that the White House is attempting to sideline the CDC and Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert who’s been shelved after ridiculing Trump’s COVID-19 response.
Despite grievances from health officials, the new guidance went into effect this Wednesday morning.