Ayyyeee… What’s Goodie Everyone. So I got some tea and it involves The CDC, Trump Administration and the Coronavirus.
The Centers for Disease Control has agreed to step out of the government’s traditional data collection process in order to “streamline reporting,” Dr. Robert Redfield said during a call with reporters set up by the agency’s parent, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
The CDC director said on Wednesday that he’s fine with the change even though some experts fear it will further sideline the agency.
Hospital data related to the coronavirus pandemic in the U.S. is going to be collected by a private technology firm, rather than the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This particular move the Trump administration says will speed up reporting but one that concerns some public health leaders.
The information includes bed occupancy, staffing levels, the severity level of coronavirus patients, ventilators on hand, and supplies of masks, gowns, and other personal protective equipment. The CDC will continue to collect other data, like information about cases and deaths, from state health departments.
Gregory Koblentz, a biodefense expert at George Mason University, said the change appears to be consistent with administration moves in recent months that has sidelined the CDC from the role it has played in other epidemics, as the public’s primary source of information. According to The Washington Post exclusively;
“We know the administration has been trying to silence the CDC,” he said. “Now it looks like the administration might be trying to blind the CDC as well.”
But Redfield, the CDC director, said the agency will retain access to all the data. He also said the change will enable it to focus on collecting other data, like information from nursing homes.
In April, the government awarded a $10.2 million contract to a TeleTracking Technologies, based in Pittsburgh. At the time, the company was hired to gather data on things that were already being reported to the CDC, such as available hospital beds.
TeleTracking has won 29 contracts for federal government work stretching back to 2004. None of its previous contracts paid more than $300,000. The prior contracts were for computer systems and programming at Veteran Affairs hospitals.