Trump administration orders hospitals to bypass CDC with COVID-19 data reports

U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

The Trump administration ordered hospitals on Tuesday to bypass the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and send all novel coronavirus (COVID-19) patient information to a database in Washington D.C. The new data reporting instructions were published on the Department of Health and Human Resources (HHS) website.

“As of July 15, 2020, hospitals should no longer report the COVID-19 information…to the National Healthcare Safety Network site,” the instructions read.

Moving forward, the HHS will collect daily reports on patients that each hospital is treating, the number of available beds and mechanical ventilators, and other information used to track the pandemic.

The announcement concerns healthcare professionals who fear the data will be politicized or withheld from the public altogether. White House officials claim the change will streamline data gathering and assist its task force in allocating supplies, including personal protective equipment (PPE) and remdesivir, the first drug shown to be effective against COVID-19.

Unlike CDC data, the new HHS database will not be open to the public, which could affect researchers and other health officials who use the data to make projections and decisions. The CDC has not publicly commented about the order.

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