Trump Administration Blocks The Public From Viewing Up-To-Date Covid Data

Very quietly, the Trump Administration has implemented a very significant rule change to how the data around COVID-19 is being collected. Due to federal definitions of what constitutes a “COVID death”, there are many theories and ideas that the numbers are being inflated, despite experts saying otherwise. In this current climate, with the US election cycle coming up in a few months, a lot of conversation is being had around the current administration’s effectiveness and reliability.

In part, it’s due to the misinformation or lack of information spread by the relevant parties. President Donald Trump has routinely denied the expertise of Dr Fauci, claiming that the world-renowned physician who has advised six presidents on disease-related issues was wrong and he himself was right. This has lead to many in the public doubting the reliability of information the Trump administration releases, oftentimes using the reports of the CDC to state otherwise.

This is why the new rule change is so significant. With hospitals being mandated to report directly to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (the HHS), bypassing dropping the information into the public forum that is the CDC, the Trump Administration now controls the information being given out to the public. This went into effect quietly on July 15th, with no one the wiser. Usually, hospitals would report to the HSS and the CDC, wherein the CDC released the information to the public.

The statistics usually seen in casual conversation are not ones released by the HSS but rather the CDC, so this change has caused many problems to independent researchers and universities tracking the COVID-19 numbers who are no longer now able to do what they were usually doing. The reason behind this change, according to the Trump Administration, is to allegedly streamline the processing of the data. Not many people share this sentiment.

The CDC was criticized for being slow when it came to the release of information, whom even the director of the CDC Robert Redfield agreed with.

“It reduces confusion and duplication of reporting,” he said, “No one is taking access or data away from CDC.”

Nevertheless, the public is not pleased, especially given how recently some red states preventing local authorities to enforce masks. Georgia governor Brian Kemp signed an executive order preventing local authorities and cities in Georgia from enforcing a “Mask mandate”. What this means is that the cities and counties in Georgia no longer have the authority to enforce people to wear masks while out in public.

To him, it’s “a bridge too far”, and has staunchly defended his decision. He also added that he encourages the use of masks, but would not allow authorities to mandate it. In the executive order, he’s also banned gatherings of more than fifty individuals, which is quite unusual considering how schools are set to be open across the state, which are definitely gatherings of more than fifty.

Ill advised decisions from government authorities are not unusual in this pandemic. The Trump Administration’s decision to change the hospitals reporting from CDC and HHS to just the HHS has forced the doctors to quickly learn a new system, a new process, and a new way of reporting. This is an unnecessary burden on the doctors who have routinely complained for better part of the last two decades that the administration tasks of hospitals in the US are not doctor appropriate. Doctors are meant to deal with people, not machines, so burdening them with extra administrative tasks is the exact opposite of what they require, especially now.

Furthermore, as mentioned earlier, the systemic attack on Dr Fauci by the Trump Administration is another factor as to why the public believes that information access is being stomped out. Many outlets received a letter from the Trump Administration outlining why Dr Fauci is allegedly not a reliable source of information. They quoted him from earlier in the year when the virus was just starting out that it was not serious and not a need for panic. This is disingenuous as Doctors across the world hoped that basic, rudimentary tasks such as wearing masks and staying at home would prevent the outbreak.

This is extra concerning because these kinds of tactics are ones politicians use against other politicians to prevent them from getting the word out. The Trump Administration is treating Dr. Fauci like a political enemy and has blocked him from coming onto TV and other media outlets wherever possible. Nowadays, he’s often on social media doing interviews for other websites where he does not belittle the Trump organization but continues to reflect and add upon the necessity of wearing masks and social distancing.

Unfortunately, many people in America were either incapable of or unable to follow the guidelines, hence being one of the only countries in the world with rising COVID-19 cases. This has made the recent and unstoppable push to open schools seem even more dangerous. While the education of the youth is doubly important, it is unethical to expose them to COVID-19 when states everywhere are reporting a spiking rise in cases.

With his push to open education facilities, there’s an unexpected problem that comes with higher-level education. As of late, due to there being no physical classes and no mandate for colleges to have physical classes, the administration has stated that international students need to go back to their country. This was met with a roar of displeasure for many reasons. For one, this required many universities to have in-person classes so that the students had a justifiable reason to stay in the country, even if they normally wouldn’t.

It meant that international students had to either choose between going back to their country or risking COVID-19. It becomes even more problematic because countries are handling the virus differently, and would either risk bringing COVID with them, or get stuck there indefinitely during the pandemic.

It wasn’t until MIT and Harvard filed a joint lawsuit against the Trump Administration about the unethical nature of this situation did they finally rescind their plans.

These series of questionable decisions in regards to handling the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as refuting, muddying, or straight up denying the statistical information by the Trump Administration is why many people are perturbed and concerned with the recent change of data compilation and dissemination. With the control going directly to the government, and the election cycle right around the corner, it has raised many alarms.

This wave of “alternative facts” and “fake news” has forced people to look into stories more closely for their authenticity, but the fact that the information around COVID-19 is now no longer as readily available as it used to be has been. It is yet to be seen whether this change will provide faster results, as there are currently no updates on the CDC site on the numbers as there had been since the entire pandemic started.

This next election cycle will certainly be something to keep a close eye on.


Send this to a friend