Trump administration orders hospitals to bypass CDC, send virus info to DC database

Some critics are arguing that the move may cause the manipulation of crisis information to help Trump's upcoming election

U.S. President Donald Trump meets with students, teachers and administrators about how to safely re-open schools during the novel coronavirus pandemic in the East Room at the White House July 07, 2020 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

In an unprecedented move, the Trump administration has ordered hospitals currently treating COVID-19 patients to bypass the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and send all data regarding their status to one centralized database in Washington D.C.

Public health professionals are alarmed. Many believe the move is to manipulate important crisis information to help his upcoming election —hiding accurate numbers that may prevent thousands of deaths.

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Listed on the Department of Health and Human Services website, the instructions are firm: all daily reports on the patients, available beds and ventilators, and other measures used to track the spread of the respiratory disease should come to them.

“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 statement said about the C.D.C.’s system for gathering data from more than 25,000 medical centers around the country.

A health care worker works at a COVID-19 testing site sponsored by Community Heath of South Florida at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Clinica Campesina Health Center, during the coronavirus pandemic, Monday, July 6, 2020, in Homestead, Fla. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

The administration rationalizes that the move will “streamline data gathering,” providing the White House coronavirus task force with immediate information that will better equip them to serve the nation.

While it may assist the government, the data will not be public. Private health officials, researchers, and those who work to keep checks and balances will be left to solely reply to whatever is provided by C.D.C.  

The New York Times reports that this is cause for concern for many like Jen Kates, the director of global health and H.I.V. policy with the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation. 

“Historically, C.D.C. 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,” the told the publication.

Kates raised legitimate questions as she continued, “How will the data be protected? Will there be transparency, will there be access, and what is the role of the C.D.C. in understanding the data?”

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According to the C.D.C., there have been 3,355,457 people diagnosed with the coronavirus since the department has been recording this current strand. Of that 3 million, there have regrettably been 135,235 deaths. On July 14, only 351 deaths were recorded.

The president has insisted that the numbers are not as bad as they seem. According to a poll done by ABC/Ipsos, the public does not agree. Sixty-seven percent of respondents now disapprove of “the way Donald Trump is handling the response to the coronavirus.” Only 33 percent of those tapped for the survey approved.

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