As COVID cases see a shocking resurgence across the US, new guidelines on where to send data about COVID hospital patients threaten to further convolute the situation. Previously data was sent to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC, in which it was largely publicly available and relied on heavily by many to make informed decisions from – those in education, researchers, and health officials. The information will instead go directly to the Trump administration under the Department of Health and Human Services. While the Trump administration announced that the CDC would continue to play a role in gathering and processing the information, the administration also made it clear that the new database with all updated information will not be open to the public.
While there was certainly room for new technology and an updated database at the CDC – one which was able to adequately, accurately, and expediently process information in times of great strain – this shift does not fix the issue. Instead, it creates a new problem of even less transparency as the public looks for concrete information during a public health crisis. With the administration’s wavering and weak stance on the pandemic, there is not much evidence that this information will be any more beneficial under the HHS.