Hospital data on COVID-19 patients will now be sent to the Trump administration before going to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The data will go to the Department of Health and Human Services, the parent agency of the CDC.
HHS on Tuesday confirmed the news, which was first reported by the New York Times.
HHS said the CDC’s database is not inadequate to store and process the necessary information.
Michael Caputo, the HHS assistant public affairs secretary, said in a statement that the “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.”
But four former CDC directors slammed the decision in a Washington Post op-ed, saying it’s a political move at a time when the White House wants to reopen schools.
“We’re seeing the terrible effect of undermining the CDC play out in our population. Willful disregard for public health guidelines is, unsurprisingly, leading to a sharp rise in infections and deaths,” the four former CDC officials wrote. “America now stands as a global outlier in the coronavirus pandemic. This tragic indictment of our efforts is even more egregious in light of the disproportionate impact we’ve witnessed on communities of color and lower-income essential workers.”
An internal CDC document obtained by the Times called the reopening of schools in the fall the “highest risk” for the spread of the virus.
The CDC’s database is accessible to the public and used by researchers to make projections and decisions, while the HHS database is private.
Both Dr. Sherry Young and West Virginia Sen. Shelley Capito spoke with 13 News Mark Curtis about the data being sent to the White House.
“That does concern me because the CDC is an organization that looks at public health and looks at where we go with what we do. They’re great with getting the numbers and information to know what treatment works and giving us guidance as a medical community, and as communities themselves. Not only as a physician do I value CDC, but as a general citizen I value everything that they do, and I don’t think that needs to be changed in the middle of the game.”Dr. Sherri Young, Executive Director, Kanawha-Charleston Health Department
“I’m concerned about that because I think our health system – if I look at our county health, the state health, the CDC — They’ve had years of experience collecting data. We have our state epidemiologist that helps coordinate with our counties and local hospitals. I think the CDC is set up to have accurate data, and that’s where I would like to see it housed.”Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-West Virginia