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article imageOp-Ed: Trump orders hospitals to stop sending COVID-19 data to CDC

By Karen Graham     Jul 15, 2020 in Politics
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.
In a move that came out of the blue, the Trump administration's new instructions were posted in a little-noticed document on the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) website.
On Tuesday, the New York Times reported that the HHS database now positioned to collect daily Covid-19 information from hospitals "is not open to the public, which could affect the work of scores of researchers, modelers, and health officials who rely on CDC data to make projections and crucial decisions."
USA Today is reporting that Michael Caputo, HHS assistant secretary for public affairs, said in a statement: “The President’s Coronavirus Task Force has urged improvements for months, but they (the CDC) cannot keep up with this pandemic,” he said. “Today, the CDC still provides data from only 85 percent of hospitals; the President’s COVID response requires 100 percent to report.”
Caputo added: "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 HHS document has explicit instructions for hospitals to follow: “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.
Cover-up on the scale of the pandemic
Today's move by the administration follows a Tuesday Washington Post op-ed written by four former CDC directors or acting directors criticizing President Donald Trump for “politicizing science.”
“These repeated efforts to subvert sound public health guidelines introduce chaos and uncertainty while unnecessarily putting lives at risk,” they wrote.
While administration officials are trying to portray this latest move by the administration as nothing more than a way to "streamline the gathering of data on the pandemic," not everyone is so trusting of a regime that is known for its underhanded methods of controlling the news feed.
This is especially true, given President Donald Trump's public attacks on the CDC and his complaints about how the recent surge in coronavirus cases "makes us look bad," according to EcoWatch.
"Speechless—Trump White House is now muzzling, bypassing, and kneecapping the CDC," tweeted epidemiologist Dr. Eric Feigl-Ding. "No other ways to spin this."
Dr. Leana Wen, a visiting professor at the Milken Institute School of Public Health at George Washington University, said in an interview on MSNBC late Tuesday that she is deeply concerned over the CDC being cut out of the COVID-19 response.
"The CDC is supposed to analyze the data coming from different regions of the country," said Wen. "I'm really deeply concerned about what we've seen with the attacks on science and public health in recent days, because public health hinges on public trust. And when politicians—including the top public official, the elected official of our country, President Trump—start attacking public health, it really undermines of all of local, state, and federal response to this pandemic."
In a column for Esquire Tuesday, Charles Pierce urged hospitals to ignore the Trump administration's directive and "send the data to the CDC anyway."
"It's time for hundreds of little rebellions," Pierce wrote.
As of Wednesday, the U.S. has surpassed 3.4 million cases with close to 137,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University. Globally, there have been 13.3 million cases and over 578,000 deaths.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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