Thursday, July 16, 2020

Coronavirus data to bypass CDC and go to HHS plus more pandemic news

While I've written a lot about the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, including on the environment, society, economy, and politics, I haven't examined the disease directly since John Oliver examines coronavirus spreading in prisons and jails while cases spike in Arizona, Florida, and Texas in June. It's time to remedy that by returning to coverage of coronavirus, beginning with CNN's White House orders hospitals to bypass CDC with data reporting.

Hospital data on coronavirus patients will now be rerouted to the Trump administration instead of first being sent to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Department of Health and Human Services confirmed to CNN.
Dr. Sanjay Gupta is right; this has become a political story instead of a health story. Not only does this refer to the core of the segment, which both the headline and video description summarized, but also to the opening of the clip, which reported on Peter Navarro's op-ed attacking Dr. Anthony Fauci, the head of NIH. I think anchor John Berman was right to focus on why the attack happened in the first place instead of the particulars of the op-ed, which he found suspect. As for the directive for data to bypass the CDC and go directly to HHS (Health and Human Services), that strikes me as a political decision designed to reduce tranparency and accountability. It's also bad science and public health policy.

The expert interviewed in Doctor weighs in on Trump administration stripping CDC of control of COVID-19 data from CBS News expressed the same concerns. Watch.

Coronavirus cases, hospitalizations, and deaths continue to rise across parts of the U.S. CBS News' Laura Podesta reports on the latest, and Dr. Neeta Ogden joins CBSN to discuss concerns about a new order from the White House that shifts control of data on COVID-19 to the Department of Health and Human Services instead of the CDC.
This clip added to CNN's because of the head of CDC advocating for masks and reinforced the message about how bypassing the CDC is bad policy that may harm the effort to fight the disease. I have a meme for that decision.

On the other hand, both segments treated the vaccine news as a good development, although it's too soon to be more than mildly optimistic. If the vaccine is approved, I might post Professor Farnsworth. Stay tuned.

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