The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) told Congress Friday that he was not directly involved in the Trump administration’s decision ordering hospitals to stop sending COVID-19 data directly to the agency.
The administration earlier this month told hospitals to start reporting hospitalization and testing data in a Health Services and People database managed by a private contractor, bypassing the CDC.
“We were not directly involved in the final decision, but what I can say is this: the CDC then and now continues to have access to all the data, it does all the data analysis, so there are no restrictions on any of the data, “director Robert Redfield told the House Electoral Subcommittee on Coronavirus Response.
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Redfield, under questioning by Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), Said he was told of the change after the decision was made by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the CDC parent agency.
He also said he had not discussed the decision with HHS Secretary Alex Azar or Vice President Pence, who led the COVID-19 administration’s response.
Redfield said the switch’s goal was to improve access to hospital data in real time, so that the administration has a better idea of where to send remdesivir, a drug that has been proven to treat COVID-19.
“I think the reason the changes were made was to make sure individuals could access remdesivir in a timely manner,” Redfield said.
The change was criticized by some public health experts, who worry that the administration is bypassing the CDC in its coronavirus response.