Health experts received surprising news this week when the Trump administration asked hospitals to bypass the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and report their data on COVID-19 patients directly to the Department of Health and Human Services .
As the New York Times reported, “The Health and Human Services database that receives new information is not publicly available, which could affect the work of many researchers, modellers, and health officials who affect C.D.C. Data to make projections and important decisions. "
This could worry people interested in tracking the spread of the virus. There are some popular online tools, such as the Johns Hopkins COVID-19 dashboard, that provide detailed, up-to-date statistics on infection rates in states and countries.
Fortunately, the Johns Hopkins dashboard remains unaffected by the new policy. A spokesman for Johns Hopkins University told Digital Trends that the university "used the CDC earlier in the pandemic in January and February as a reference … We are not currently collecting data from the CDC, so reporting on the JHU's coronavirus dashboards ( US & Global) will not be affected. "
For the United States, the Johns Hopkins dashboard obtains data from governments, government agencies and health authorities. A complete list of all sources from which the dashboard has ever been accessed can be found here.
The new data directive does not harm the dashboard, but the question remains whether HHS is transparent to the data collected. We have asked the Ministry of Health and Human Services for a comment and will update this story with new information.
The latest updates to the coronavirus outbreak can be found on the World Health Organization's COVID-19 page.