The Coalition for the Life Sciences (CLS) is encouraged that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is building, according to Dr. Deborah Birx, a “revolutionary new data system for COVID-19 hospital data collection that the CDC will run upon completion.”
This appears to reverse a Trump administration mandate last month that hospitals report critical information about COVID-19 hospitalizations and equipment to a database managed by outside contractors, to then be passed not to CDC, but rather to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Previously, hospitals reported directly to CDC. The CLS opposed that policy shift, raising concerns about reliability, timeliness and public transparency of the data, while in the midst of the greatest public health crisis in over a century. A recent NPR analysis confirmed that data posted by HHS after the policy change was spotty, incomplete and plagued with errors.
Dr. Birx did not provide a time frame for development and installation of the new CDC reporting system. In the interim, the CLS urges a reversion to the prior CDC-managed reporting protocol. Undermining the priority granted to CDC to collect these data is an apparent attack on science at a time when real-time evidence-based decision-making is essential for recovery from the COVID-19 crisis.