The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) told Congress on Friday that he was not directly involved in the Trump administration’s decision to prevent hospitals from sending COVID-19 data directly to the agency.
The administration earlier this month asked hospitals to bypass the CDC and begin hospitalization and testing data in a new health and human services database managed by a private contractor.
“We were not directly involved in the final decision, but what can I say: the CDC has access to all data then and now, does all data analytics, so there is no restriction of any data,” Director Robert Redfield told Coronovirus Response But told the House Select Subcommittee.
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Redfield, under questioning from Rep. Maxine Waters (D-California), said he was told about the change after the decision was made by the CDC’s parent agency, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
He also said that he has not discussed the decision with HHS Secretary Alex Azar or Vice President Pence, who has led the administration’s COVID-19 response.
Redfield said the switch was intended to improve access to real-time hospitalization data, so the administration could have a better idea of where to send Remedisvir, a drug proven for the treatment of CODID-19.
“I think the reasons the changes were made were to ensure that individuals could get access to Remediswear in a timely fashion,” Redfield said.
The change was criticized by some public health experts who worry that the administration is bypassing the CDC in its coronavirus response.