Health officials have rejected the suggestion that the data could be manipulated and insist that CDC retain full access to all coronavirus data. Known as the National Healthcare Safety Network, the CDC’s reporting system will continue to be used to track other data in addition to coronavirus recordings.
Defenders of the CDC said the agency had spent years asking for money to review its data surveillance systems, but funding never came. The administration is budgeted continuously about $ 21 million per year for the NHSN tracking system, which according to Obama-era CDC official John Auerbach is not enough.
“It blames the victim. Now is the time to say, “Let’s solve that problem,” said Auerbach, who is now the president and CEO of Trust for America’s Health.
Meanwhile, health officials have spent months building out the HHS Protect system in hopes of creating a more flexible and comprehensive data collection system that could better drive the federal response.
But the health department has never publicly explained why it was creating a new database, which has raised concerns about the administration’s motivation to stop showing, according to several officials and outside advisers.
“They had the chance to announce this on their own terms, in their own time frame, and they didn’t do it,” said a GOP official familiar with the project, adding that officials said about a month ago discussed a public rollout.
It also didn’t help that the reporting change happened shortly after Trump publicly attacked the CDC because of the guidelines for reopening schools and because White House officials discussed whether to assess CDC performance. That caused an unprecedented reprimand from the country’s public health community and caused the coronavirus response to be politicized.
Against that background, a long-germinating and technical shift in the way hospitals transmit data to the government seemed the latest proof that the CDC has been brushed aside.
“I really think this was an attempt to get better reporting,” said the GOP official. “This is a mini example: they suffer because of their lack of credibility, and the problem is they have had the opportunity to tell this story – which is not necessarily a bad story – but they have not done it.”