July 15, 2020

From The New York Times:

The Trump administration has ordered hospitals to bypass the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and, beginning on Wednesday, send all coronavirus patient information to a central database in Washington — a move that has alarmed public health experts who fear the data will be distorted for political gain.

The new instructions are contained in a little-noticed document posted this week on the Department of Health and Human Services’ website, Sheryl Gay Stolberg reports. From now on, H.H.S., and not the C.D.C., will collect daily reports about the patients that each hospital is treating, how many beds and ventilators are available, and other information vital to tracking the pandemic.

“Centralizing control of all data under the umbrella of an inherently political apparatus is dangerous and breeds distrust,” said Nicole Lurie, who served as assistant secretary for preparedness and response under former President Barack Obama. “It appears to cut off the ability of agencies like C.D.C. to do its basic job.”

The Trump administration is claiming the change is to make data gathering easier and help the White House allocate scarce supplies. But with a guy like Trump saying he wants to slow down testing so there will be fewer confirmed cases, pushing schools to reopen in the middle of the pandemic and an administration engaged in a smear campaign against Dr. Fauci for his caution, why the heck should anyone believe this latest move is being done for any reason other than to try to make Trump look good, while Americans die?

Just today, Mike Pence did his part to delegitimize science and CDC when he said, “To be very clear, we don't want CDC guidance to be a reason why people don't reopen their schools."

Today, Dr. Leana Wen sounded very alarmed as she reacted to the breaking news with Nicolle Wallace on MSNBC

WEN: The CDC is admired around the world. In fact, other countries have named their own equivalent of a CDC. Literally, the Chinese CDC, for example, is named after ours because we are the ones -- because our scientists and public health officials, they are the best in the world. The CDC is supposed to analyze the data coming from different regions in the country and look for trends, identify these trends, inform the public about them and then also synthesize guidelines and inform the public about what to do next. That's what the CDC is supposed to do.

For a guy as consumed with his image as Trump, you would think he’d want to make the U.S. a shining example of COVID-19 response. Instead, as Wen noted, the U.S. has fallen behind every other developed country, even though we have the same tools they have.

WEN: Their economy is back. they're able to send their kids to school. They're back to somewhat of life as normal in a way that we cannot return to. I think the rest of the world is laughing at us knowing that we have the tools, too. but we just decided to ignore the science, ignore public health, ignore evidence-based guidelines, do our own thing and at what cost? At the cost of Americans' lives.

Trump can try to massage the statistics about the pandemic. But he can’t cover up the sickness and death Americans see with their own eyes in their communities.

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