Response from IDSA President to New COVID-19 Data Reporting Protocol
Thomas M. File, Jr., M.D., FIDSA — President, Infectious Diseases Society of America
Reports that the administration has established a procedure that would remove the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as a recipient of data on patients hospitalized with COVID-19 are troubling and, if implemented, will undermine our nation’s public health experts. COVID-19 data collection and reporting must be done in a transparent and trustworthy manner and must not be politicized, as these data are the foundation that guide our response to the pandemic. Collecting and reporting public health data is a core function of the CDC, for which the agency has the necessary trained experts and infrastructure. Placing medical data collection outside of the leadership of public health experts could severely weaken the quality and availability of data, add an additional burden to already overwhelmed hospitals and add a new challenge to the U.S. pandemic response. At this critical time when many states are experiencing surges, reliable, comprehensive data are essential to inform the distribution of supplies and treatment. The administration should provide funding to support data collection and should strengthen the role of CDC to collect and report COVID-19 data by race and ethnicity, hospital and ICU capacity, total number of tests and percent positive, hospitalizations and deaths. As infectious diseases physicians, frontline providers and scientists we urge the administration to follow public health expertise in addressing this public health crisis.