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Attorney General Josh Stein to Trump Administration: Do Not Politicize COVID-19 Health Data

For Immediate Release:
Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Contact:
Laura Brewer (919) 716-6484

(RALEIGH) Attorney General Josh Stein today urged the Trump administration to immediately restore the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as the primary authority and source of information about the nation’s public health data. The federal government created a new reporting structure that prohibits hospitals from reporting COVID-19 data to the CDC and instead creates a system controlled solely by the U.S. Secretary of Health & Human Services.

“The only way we can effectively eliminate the coronavirus and end this pandemic is by relying on the science and listening to our public health experts,” said Attorney General Josh Stein. “Our federal government must do more to combat this pandemic, and this latest maneuver to prevent the CDC from getting the data it needs to make public health recommendations is irresponsible and dangerous. I urge the Trump administration to rescind this directive.”

In a letter to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, Attorney General Stein and 21 other attorneys general argue that the Trump administration’s decision to bypass the CDC in this national crisis harms the nation’s ability to track and respond to the pandemic, hampers state and local public health efforts to address the crisis in their communities, risks compromising the health data of millions of Americans, and undermines public confidence in any reports about COVID-19 coming from the federal government.

The CDC is the nation’s authority on infectious disease, and state and local public health authorities and researchers rely on CDC data sources to respond to the pandemic in their communities, inform the science behind the virus, and understand the disparate impact of the virus on communities of color. The attorneys general insist that public health authorities and researchers must have access to the data they need to continue their vital work. The new reporting structure creates additional barriers by requiring hospital data to be reported in a separate system than nursing home data and giving sensitive data to private contractors without appropriate protections.

Attorney General Stein was joined in sending today’s letter by the Attorneys General of Massachusetts, California, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington.

A copy of the letter is available here.

More on Attorney General Stein’s work to protect North Carolinians during the COVID-19 pandemic:

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