Concerns over ‘abrupt’ change in US COVID data reporting system

A sign informs travelers arriving at Logan Airport about the restrictions imposed by a Massachusetts Travel Order amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.

A group of public health advisers to the US government have expressed concerns over the administration’s decision to change the way for hospitals to report Covid-19 data, a media report said.

The nearly three dozen current and former members of the Healthcare Infection Control Practices Advisory Committee shared their concerns in a letter sent to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Xinhua news agency quoted the CNN report as saying on Friday.

“We are extremely concerned about this abrupt change in Covid-19 reporting,” said the letter from the committee, which is an independent group of experts that provides guidance to HHS and the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on infection control practices and strategies.

“Moving forward, it will be even more challenging to perform meaningful inter-state comparisons, and to understand which Covid-19 mitigation strategies were successful (or failed),” it added.

The HHS posted a memo on its website last month, saying President Donald Trump’s administration ordered hospitals to report all COVID-19 patient information to the Department, instead of to HHS and CDC as before, according to the CNN report.

The new reporting system swiftly drew criticism from public health officials, it added.

Former CDC Acting Director Richard Besser has said that the change was a “step backwards” for the US coronavirus response, and “another example of CDC being sidelined” .

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