This week the White House ordered hospitals to stop sending all data on Corona-19 patients to the Center For Disease Control in Atlanta but to send it to a central data base in Washington controlled by Health and Human Services.
The Trump administration has ordered hospitals to bypass the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and send all Covid-19 patient information to a central database in Washington beginning on Wednesday. The move has alarmed health experts who fear the data will be politicized or withheld from the public.
The new instructions were posted recently in a little-noticed document on the Department of Health and Human Services website. From now on, the department — not the C.D.C. — will collect daily reports about the patients that each hospital is treating, the number of available beds and ventilators, 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 remdesivir, the first drug shown to be effective against the virus. But the Health and Human Services database that will receive new information is not open to the public, which could affect the work of scores of researchers, modelers and health officials who rely on C.D.C. data to make projections and crucial decisions.
Restricting access to this vital information will put lives at greater risk and complicate the treatment of those who contract this virus.
Since the pandemic began, the CDC regularly published data on availability of hospital beds and intensive care units across the country. But Ryan Panchadsaram, who helps run a data-tracking site called Covid Exit Strategy, said that when he tried to collect the data from the CDC on Tuesday, it had disappeared.
“We were surprised because the modules that we normally go to were empty. The data wasn’t available and not there,” he said. “There was no warning.”
CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield told reporters on a conference call Wednesday that states were told to stop sending hospital information to the National Healthcare Safety Network site, the CDC’s system for gathering data, beginning Wednesday. Instead, all data will now be reported through HHS’ reporting portal, officials said, adding that the decision was made to streamline data reporting and to provide HHS officials with real-time data.
Public health specialists and former health officials acknowledged that the CDC’s data reporting infrastructure was limited, and said it needs to be overhauled to meet the demands of the Covid-19 pandemic. However, they expressed concern in interviews with CNBC that the change could lead to less transparent data.
It appears that the Trump administrations is desperately trying to hide the severity of this pandemic because Trump’s polling numbers are tanking. Trump believes that if there is no testing and no reporting he can disappear the pandemic from the headlines and refocus the news to him. Trump seems to believe that if it is out of sight, it is not only out of mind, it doesn’t exist. Like an infant, he thinks that if you can’t see it, it doesn’t exist. Sometime between 4 and 8 months, however, most babies start to figure out that just because something is out of sight does not mean that it isn’t there anymore. By the time is child is 2 years old, the child fully understands object permanence. Object permanence is a skill that Trump, the “stable genius,” apparently lacks. This would be fine if he were still in the private sector but he’s not. He’s President of the United States and a danger to the lives and well being of its citizens.