Hospitals will begin sending COVID-19 data to a centralized Trump administration database rather than to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as the administration seeks to increase the speed of data reporting, NBC News reported.
Before this change, hospitals sent COVID-19 data to the CDC, which reported the information publicly — but with a lag of a week or more. Michael Caputo, assistant secretary for public affairs for the Department of Health and Human Services, said that won't cut it anymore.
"The President's Coronavirus Task Force has urged improvements for months, but they just cannot keep up with this pandemic," Caputo said, according to NBC News. "Today, the CDC still provides data from only 85 percent of hospitals; the President's COVID response requires 100 percent to report."
The CDC's data reporting lag time has resulted in some public confusion about exactly where the COVID-19 outbreak in the U.S. stands at any given point. For example, when the CDC reports a certain number of deaths for a specific week, that doesn't mean all the deaths occurred that week, even though media reporting doesn't always reflect that reality.
Top row: Deaths reported publicly by week West to East: Provisional death counts by CDC when death occurred, colum… https://t.co/haFndIwQnc— Kyle Lamb (@Kyle Lamb) 1594434669.0
Caputo told NBC News that the CDC will still be involved in the process, but a wider government involvement in the data reporting will speed things up.
"The new faster and complete data system is what our nation needs to defeat the coronavirus and the CDC, an operating division of HHS, will certainly participate in this streamlined all-of-government response," Caputo said. "They will simply no longer control it."
Increases in the number of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in some places, especially California and Texas, have led city and state officials to consider or re-implement lockdown policies.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) warned that more lockdowns might be necessary if current trends aren't reversed. California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) closed all indoor restaurants, wineries, movie theaters, zoos, museums and bars, and schools in San Diego and Los Angeles will be online-only in the fall.