Jul 31, 2020 - Politics & Policy

CDC director says he was not involved in decision to change coronavirus data reporting

CDC director Robert Redfield testified Friday that he was not involved in the Trump administration's decision to bypass his agency and instead have hospitals send coronavirus data to the Health and Human Services Department.

Why it matters: According to the COVID Tracking Project, data on coronavirus hospitalizations has been "unstable since July 15" — five days after the change.

  • The HHS "public data hub created under the new system is updated erratically and is rife with inconsistencies and errors," which could create and complicate public health issues as cases and deaths surge nationwide, NPR reports.
  • An HHS spokesperson told NPR that the agency has worked quickly to fix errors and the agency is "pleased with the progress we have made during this transition and the actionable data it is providing," although some states and hospitals have had "difficulty."

What they're saying: Redfield told the House's select coronavirus committee that he did not remember the exact date that he was informed about the change — and that the CDC was not "directly involved in the final decision."

  • "But what I can say, is that CDC then and now continues to have access to all data, does all data analytics, so there's no restriction of any of the data and that data we continue to forward-face the American public," he testified.
  • Redfield said that he had not discussed the change with Vice President Mike Pence or HHS Secretary Alex Azar.
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