HealthDay News – US hospitals have been told by the Trump administration to send all COVID-19 information to a central database in Washington, DC, instead of to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The order means that the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) will now collect daily reports about COVID-19 patients in each hospital and the number of available beds and ventilators, The New York Times reported. White House officials say the change will streamline data gathering and improve distribution of supplies, but health experts are concerned that the data will be politicized or kept from the public.
“Historically, CDC 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, director of global health and HIV policy at the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation, told The Times. “How will the data be protected? Will there be transparency, will there be access, and what is the role of the CDC in understanding the data?”
The CDC system is inadequate and it will be linked with the HHS system, according to HHS spokesman Michael Caputo, who added that the CDC would continue to make data public, The Times reported.