At the beginning of the pandemic, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (C.D.C) was responsible for controlling the coronavirus data. In other words, the organization was in control of tracking the number of COVID cases across the country. In July, the Trump administration ordered all hospitals across the United States to report their COVID-19 data to a private central database in Washington. This decision resulted in an uproar of concern across the country.
Because the COVID data is not being sent to the C.D.C., where information regarding pandemics is normally sent, a concern of Americans is that the virus’ data will be “politicized or withheld from the public” (https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/14/us/politics/trump-cdc-coronavirus.html). The possibility of misinformation with such a serious virus can be deadly. For instance, if the number of cases was underreported, somebody could think that it means they can go out and socialize with others, resulting in them contracting the coronavirus.
This change in reporting can also make research and reporting burdensome for researchers and health officials to make predictions and decisions about COVID-19. Since COVID statistics are not quickly available to the public, these important officials cannot warn or educate the public on how the virus is currently doing in real-time. This also impedes the ability to see how many available ventilators and other supplies there are in hospitals, therefore we do not know what is needed where.
The C.D.C.’s main role in these circumstances is to inform the public of what is going on, and how to stay safe. Although with the Trump administration handling the logistics of COVID now, this puts the public at a risk. Another downside of the Trump administration controlling the coronavirus data is that there is a lag of at least a week in the C.D.C. obtaining the information. Americans need this type of information as soon as possible, not a week later, in order to figure out how to conduct their day-to-day lives. Once you really think about it, a week is a very long time to delay information. Anything can happen in the course of a week.
The main issue here is a sense of distrust within the public with the Trump administration. Many Americans are worried about misinformation and politicizing the coronavirus for Trump’s own gain. Be sure to do your own research and double-check everything you hear.