Attorney General Frosh Joins Call for Withdrawal of Directive Stripping CDC of Control Over Coronavirus Data
Joins Multistate Letter Expressing Concerns with New Reporting Structure That Inhibits Access to Data
BALTIMORE, MD (July 28, 2020) – Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh today joined a multistate effort urging the Trump administration to immediately withdraw its new reporting structure that prohibits hospitals from reporting COVID-19 data to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and instead creates a system controlled solely by the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS). The new directive from the White House imperils public health and dangerously undermines transparency during the COVID-19 pandemic. The letter sent to HHS Secretary Alex M. Azar II urges the department to restore the CDC to its rightful role as the primary authority over and source of information about the nation’s public health data.
“Trump taking COVID-19 data away from the CDC is the latest attack in his war on science,” said Attorney General Frosh. “Trump obviously believes that he can bury the news of his mismanagement by turning the information over to his sycophants. The American people deserve the truth. This is an attempt to cover it up.”
In the letter, a coalition of 22 attorneys general argue that the Trump administration’s decision to bypass the CDC in this national crisis harms the nation’s ability to track and respond to the pandemic, hampers state and local public health efforts to address the crisis in their communities, risks compromising the health data of millions of Americans, and undermines public confidence in any reports about COVID-19 coming from the federal government.
The letter also points out that the CDC is the nation’s authority on infectious disease, and state and local public health authorities and researchers rely on CDC data sources for responding to the pandemic in their communities and informing the science behind the virus. Disaggregated data provided by the CDC has also revealed the disparate impact of COVID-19 on communities of color and informed efforts to address racial and ethnic health inequities. The coalition insists that public health authorities and researchers must have access to the data they need to continue their vital work. The White House’s new reporting structure requires hospital data be reported in a separate system than nursing home data and gives sensitive information to private contractors without assurance of appropriate protections.
The attorneys general contend that any issues with COVID-19 data reporting, analysis, and tracking should be addressed by increasing support for the CDC and investing in its systems – not by circumventing the nation’s top public health experts.
In addition to Attorney General Frosh, today’s letter was signed by the attorneys general of California, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington.