‘Science should not stand in the way’ of opening schools, White House says


Drew Angerer/Getty Images
Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The White House insists new rules for reporting Covid data from hospitals are about “getting more data out there, not less data,” made available to health experts and the public, after pushback from some researchers. 

The administration ordered hospitals to send data on coronavirus patients to the Department of Health and Human Services in Washington rather than to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, prompting some experts to say the move undermined the CDC and created confusion.  

“The intent is that we need to make sure there is daily data that is being given to Dr. [Deborah] Birx and others who are running point on a lot of our actions with remdesivir and identifying hot spots,” White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said at a briefing Thursday afternoon. 

McEnany said there are two methods of data collection.

“One is the national health care safety network, and this is a CDC system, and this is where hospitals voluntarily report their data, and about 81% of hospitals were report their data. So we don’t need 81% of hospitals reporting their data, we need 100% of data because it is critical that Dr. Birx and others receive the daily admissions, ICU use and PPE numbers, and when you’re only getting 81% of hospital data that means that means you’ve got 19% of hospitals that we’re unaware of their need,” McEnany said.

The second method, she said, is the “the teletracker database and this is an HHS system, and this was initially used for purposes of provider relieve funding, and we asked hospitals to tell us about their Covid admissions so we could identify possible hot spots and as it turns out, this data ended up being more complete, more up to date with information, and so ensuring that hospitals are reporting it to this system where we’re getting more complete data.” 

She said the information gathered “is completely open source data, available to the CDC.” 

“No one is taking access or data away from the CDC and that data is routinely published so that the American people are fully informed,” she told reporters. “The CDC database is the public data that’s been out there. It will continue to be public, it should be public.” 

“This is all about getting more data out there, not less data, and insuring that in particular that our doctors get that daily data,” McEnany claimed. 

Some background: CNN previously reported former CDC acting director Dr. Richard Besser on Wednesday said rerouting hospital data is a “step backwards” for the country’s coronavirus response.

“It’s another example of CDC being sidelined. Not only should the data be coming to CDC, but CDC should be talking to the public through the media every day,” Besser told CNN chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta in an interview.


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