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White House tells hospitals to bypass CDC on COVID-19 reporting

Hospitals are to start sending the data directly to the Department of Health and Human Services starting Wednesday.

The Trump administration is telling hospitals to bypass the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and to send their coronavirus-related data directly to the Department of Health and Human Services starting Wednesday. That's according to instructions released last week on the HHS website.

"As of July 15, 2020, hospitals should no longer report the Covid-19 information in this document to the National Healthcare Safety Network site," reads the FAQ.

The Hill reports the National Healthcare Safety Network, run by the CDC, was used to track how many COVID-19 patients hospitals have and how many beds and ventilators were available.

Hospitals will still send that data, but will send it to HHS.

"It is critical to the COVID-19 response that all of the information listed below is provided on a daily basis to the Federal Government to facilitate planning, monitoring, and resource allocation during the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (PHE)," reads the FAQ. "This data will be used to inform decisions at the federal level, such as allocation of supplies, treatments, and other resources."

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Officials say the change streamlines the federal process of allocating supplies, according to The New York Times. But the database is not open to the public. That could make it harder for health officials and researchers to create models and projections about the spread of COVID-19 and how many resources will be available. As a result, critics are reportedly concerned about the transparency of the data and whether it could be politicized.

The Washington Post reports the Trump administration is considering sending the National Guard to help hospitals collect the data. The Post cites a letter, internal emails and officials who were familiar with the plans.

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