July 28, 2020
Carson City, NV – Today, Nevada Attorney General Aaron D. Ford urged
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.
The letter was sent
to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Secretary Alex M. Azar II
by 21 attorneys general, 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.
“This new directive from
the White House imperils public health,” said
AG Ford. “At a time when finding a vaccine and keeping our loved ones safe
is critical, this directive dangerously undermines transparency and
communication during the COVID-19 pandemic.”
In the letter, the 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 attorneys general insist that public health authorities and
researchers must have access to the data they need to continue their vital
work. This 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 Nevada, attorneys general from the following
states joined the letter: California, Connecticut, the District of
Columbia, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Michigan,
Minnesota, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode
Island, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington.