Hospital data on coronavirus patients will now be sent to the Trump administration before going to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The data will go to the Department of Health and Human Services, the parent agency of the CDC.
HHS on Tuesday confirmed the news, which was first reported by the New York Times.
HHS said the CDC’s database is inadequate to store and process the necessary information.
Michael Caputo, the HHS assistant public affairs secretary, said in a statement that 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.”
But four former CDC directors slammed the decision in a Washington Post op-ed, saying it’s a political move at a time when the White House wants to reopen schools.
“We’re seeing the terrible effect of undermining the CDC play out in our population. Willful disregard for public health guidelines is, unsurprisingly, leading to a sharp rise in infections and deaths,” the four former CDC officials wrote. “America now stands as a global outlier in the coronavirus pandemic. This tragic indictment of our efforts is even more egregious in light of the disproportionate impact we’ve witnessed on communities of color and lower-income essential workers.”
An internal CDC document obtained by the Times called the reopening of schools in the fall the “highest risk” for the spread of the virus.
The CDC’s database is accessible to the public and used by researchers to make projections and decisions, while the HHS database is private.