AMERICA — Under new instructions from the Trump Administration announced Wednesday, July 15, hospitals are now required to report COVID-19 data directly to the Department of Health and Human Services, not the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
As of Wednesday the HSS 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.
The CDC has been in charge of keeping track of COVID-19 data since the beginning of the pandemic in March. This change has some health officials concerned that because the information being reported to the HHS will not be available to the public, it could disrupt public access to the data.
Former Director of the CDC Dr. Richard Besser stated in an interview, “…You know, the CDC is the nation’s public health agency. And they need to be receiving data like this from hospitals to understand how the pandemic is progressing across the country, how the number of cases in hospitals may relate to actions that are being taken or not being taken in states and cities, and to provide direction to the nation.”
Michael Caputo, Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs at HHS, defended the decision made by the Trump Administration and said the CDC’s system is inadequate.
“The CDC’s old data gathering operation once worked well monitoring hospital information across the country, but it’s an inadequate system today. The President’s Coronavirus Task Force has urged improvements for months, but they just cannot keep up with this pandemic.”
According to a document released by HSS on COVID-19 Guidance for Hospital Reporting and FAQs, “The following data will greatly assist the White House Coronavirus Task Force in tracking the movement of the virus, identifying potential strains in the healthcare delivery system, and informing distribution of supplies.”