A federal mandate has directed that the CDC transfers the data regarding cases and other logistical factors concerning COVID-19 to private tech firm’s system. The CDC being forced to give up control of such sensitive data has raised concerns in the health community.
CDC has been the first shield of armour for the U.S. health department since its birth in the 1940s. This change in the status quo of data reporting occurred after Trump administrations argued against CDC’s proposal to reopen schools. To this, Samuel Scarpino, an assistant professor who leads the Emergent Epidemics lab at the Northeastern University, points out a serious concern. “What this means is that a process that should be as largely apolitical as possible is being politicised like so many other things around this pandemic have been,” says Scarpino.
Furthermore, he vehemently tags this change in power to be a ‘horrible’ idea. The new procedure simplifies the process of obtaining COVID-19 data. This includes staffing numbers in hospitals, ICUs required, PPE kits used, etc. According to this mandate, the government officials will strictly control the allocation and usage of drugs. This includes the usage of remdesivir, the only known treatment of COVID-19. However, Scarpino finds letting newbies handle such sensitive data as problematic. That too, from the hands of experts at CDC who has been doing this work all their lives.
The work of the CDC doesn’t end with the collection and study of healthcare data. It also plays a key role in making sure different states agree upon the line of action during an infection spread. This new edict is disrupting the delicate political relations between the CDC and different states. Furthermore, a change in the line of command is a serious issue to overcome, especially during a pandemic, says Scarpino.
So, this sudden change in the hierarchy of reporting in healthcare has caused a major ripple of concern across the country. Forcing the CDC to give up control has the country’s healthcare experts worried. The people are anxious about every bit of news regarding COVID-19. Only time will tell how this new directive will impact the world of U.S. healthcare.