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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.

Go deeper

Utah governor declares state of emergency as coronavirus cases spike

A COVID-19 drive through testing site at the University of Utah's Sugar House Health Clinic in Salt Lake City. Photo: George Frey/AFP via Getty Images

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert (R) announced late Sunday a new state of emergency that mandates masks statewide until further notice "due to the alarming rate of COVID infections" that have put a strain on hospitals.

Driving the news: Cases are surging across the U.S. Local officials said hospitals were at "breaking point" as infection numbers spike, per ABC4. Utah confirmed Sunday 2,386 more people tested positive for the coronavirus, taking the total to 132,621, per the COVID Tracking Project.

Updated Nov 26, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Vaccines: U.S. to mandate vaccines for anyone who crosses borders starting in January — Shots lagged data by months — The next big bottleneck in the global vaccination effort.
  2. Health: The Thanksgiving bouncers — Axios-Ipsos poll: Thanksgiving roulette — Experts criticize CDC's language on vaccine boosters — America's Thanksgiving gamble.
  3. Politics: Biden administration asks appeals court to reinstate vaccine mandate — Michigan recommends face masks for all residents amid surge.
  4. Education: A COVID strategy backfires at schools — Schools across the U.S. offer vaccine drivesBenefits of in-person school outweigh risks, study finds.
  5. World: EU drug regulator recommends Pfizer COVID vaccine for kids — Italy announces new COVID restrictions for unvaccinated people — European health agency urges expanding booster shot access.
  6. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.

Cuomo on Biden win: "The political pressure of denying COVID is gone"

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) said that Joe Biden's election victory could bring forth "a different tone" surrounding the coronavirus.

What he's saying: "I think you'll see a different tone now. I think you'll even see some governors start to take a different tone now that Mr. Trump is out of office. I think the political pressure of denying COVID is gone," Cuomo said on ABC's "This Week" Sunday.