Things That Matter

The White House Is Keeping How Bad the Coronavirus Crisis Is Getting From Americans

Coronavirus cases continue to pillage communities, hospitals, and counties across the United States but the Trump administration is tapping out their best efforts to make sure Americans don’t know it.

In their latest move to ensure concealing information about the coronavirus spread, the Trump administration has recently ordered hospitals to stop sending reports to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and instead reroute them to the Department of Health and Human Services. According to reports from the New York Times, Public health experts say the decision, would make the information unavailable to the public.

The HHS announced the changes last week in a published document.

According to the HHS “hospitals should no longer report the Covid-19 information in this document to the National Healthcare Safety Network site.” The site is operated by the CDC and the data works up to round up “hospital and ICU bed occupancy, PPE supply, COVID-19 hospitalizations, and other information that’s key to tracking the pandemic’s strain on the nation’s hospitals.”

While the CDC has referred to NHSN as “the nation’s most widely used healthcare-associated infection tracking system,” the Trump administration has worked overtime to undermine them.

Over the past few weeks, the Trump administration has criticized the organization for its response to the coronavirus incessantly. Michael Caputo, a Trump administration officials, and HHS spokesperson recently told The New York Times that “the CDC still has at least a week lag in reporting hospital data. 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.”

Dr. Nicole Lurie, a former health official from the Obama administration has been quick to lambast the decision ridiculing the organization for spreading disinformation and distrust.

“Centralizing control of all data under the umbrella of an inherently political apparatus is dangerous and breeds distrust,” Lurie explained. “It appears to cut off the ability of agencies like CDC to do its basic job.”

The decision to take the CDC out of the equation was reportedly helmed by Dr. Deborah Birx. As a member of the White House coronavirus task force, Birx reportedly ridiculed hospital executives for failing to report data adequately. According to the Times, these criticisms took place several weeks ago in a conference call.

Instead of reporting to CDC and using its system, the White House will now send new information to TeleTracking, a private Pittsburgh-based firm.

As Vice recently reported, TeleTracking was awarded a $10.2 million no-bid contract back in April “to provide the Department of Health and Human Services with COVID-19 rapid deployment plan for real-time healthcare system capacity reporting.”

Iowa state auditor Rob Sand released findings earlier this week that pointed out that the state Department of Public Health was the fourth entity in a chain to receive coronavirus test results and criticized the White House for the decision to keep Americans in the dark about how coronavirus continues to spread saying “We’ve asked the question: ‘Why can’t it be reported directly? Why are you routing it this way?’ And we’ve received no answer to it, which suggests to us that there is no legitimate point to do it that way.”

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