By Zachary Stieber
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is warning that the end of the public health emergency for COVID-19 would cut the agency off from critical data for tracking the disease.
“CDC has no general statutory authority to direct what and how public health data are reported. Data authorities related to COVID-19 test results and hospitalizations are available now because of a public health emergency declaration. When that declaration lapses, so do the federal legal authorities to require the reporting of this important information,” a CDC spokesperson told The Epoch Times in an email.
The emergency was declared by then-Health Secretary Alex Azar in January 2020 during the Trump administration. It has been extended multiple times by Azar and his successor, Xavier Becerra, most recently on Jan. 14.
The declaration enables the CDC and other health agencies to take certain actions, including tapping into a financial reserve and waiving some requirements from the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. In a pandemic-era bill, Congress also ordered all laboratories that perform or analyze COVID-19 tests to report the results to the federal government until the declaration ends.
A separate national emergency declaration was made by former President Donald Trump in March 2020 and has been kept in place by President Joe Biden, who last extended it in February.
Critics say that the emergency is over because COVID-19 metrics have plunged since the latest peak, and many officials, including top ones in the Biden administration, have acknowledged that the pandemic has eased.
The CDC said it’s reliant on voluntarily reporting from local, state, and public health partners in collecting data on COVID-19.
“This pandemic demonstrated the inadequacies of this fractured system which results in delays and incomplete data when the agency must move quickly to keep people safe through policymaking,” the spokesperson said.
The CDC has launched an effort to modernize its data collection and reporting but is pushing for the White House or Congress to give it more authority for data collection outside of the emergency powers.
“If people want CDC to be responsible, to be able to report in a timely fashion, in a quick fashion, we have to have the authority to collect those data,” Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the agency’s director, said on CBS’s “60 Minutes.”
The White House didn’t respond to a request for comment.
Reuters reported recently that the Biden administration wants to keep the collection system in place beyond the end of the emergency, adding new requirements for the thousands of hospitals that have been feeding data to the CDC.
One path the administration could take is imposing required reporting as a condition of participation in the Medicare and Medicaid programs.
The current system requires more hours for hospitals and other providers to collect the information and submit it to federal health officials, Paul Mango, who worked for the CDC’s parent agency, the Department of Health and Human Services, during the Trump administration, said in an op-ed.
“It’s hard work to collect all this information and submit it if it’s not done automatically, electronically,” Mango told The Epoch Times. His book “Warp Speed” was just published.
Mango thinks the CDC should tap into electronic health records, which are now widely used across the country, to gather data, since the records are already available without additional work by state and local providers.
“The future should be a seamless, automated way to collect this information,” he said.
Affiliate News Feeds
- Washington Examiner
- The Federalist
- The Epoch Times
- The Guardian
- The Gateway Pundit
- Judicial Watch
By Patricia Tolson A new survey reveals that the majority of Americans do not trust the integrity of America’s elections. According to a poll conducted among likely General Election voters between Nov. 16–20… [...]
By Louise Chambers When her neighbor, a farmer, fell ill suddenly, a Minnesota teen volunteered to help him tend the land. The farmer was beyond grateful for the support, and the teen… [...]
EXCLUSIVE — U.S. air marshals are planning to stage an open rebellion against the Biden administration over a plan that would strip 99% of commercial flights from federal protection as… [...]
Attorneys general from 18 states are calling on UPS and FedEx to clarify their policies on shipping guns amid concerns about the companies being able to track gun owners without… [...]
Politico should have done far better than stating opinion as fact and blithely ignoring concerns that medical experts have raised. [...]
What the Rhine case reveals is the danger that a partnership between an equally politicized federal government and Big Tech presents to disfavored groups. [...]
The U.S. Senate on Nov. 29 approved the “Respect for Marriage Act,” with a dozen Republicans crossing the aisle to vote yes. See below how each senator voted for the… [...]
Guardian unpicks complex web of investment firms, wealth funds and tax haven-based businesses that own most of sectorEngland’s water: the world’s piggy bankCan global water investors be held to account?England’s… [...]
Former lady-in-waiting to queen issues apology after Ngozi Fulani questioned over where her ‘people’ came fromThe late queen’s lady-in-waiting has resigned and apologised after a black guest at a reception… [...]
Surveillance video released this week shows a gunman ambush an on duty Philadelphia Parking Authority officer in the Frankford neighborhood, shooting him in the head in an attempted execution last… [...]
Even Democrats believe that the election in Arizona was a mess that impacted the outcome of the election. Maricopa was a royal mess. We all know it. A new Rasmussen… [...]
Though years ago India passed a sweeping law giving transgender people rights—and prohibiting discrimination in education, employment, and healthcare—the Biden administration is spending American taxpayer dollars to counter stigma and… [...]
(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch announced today that it filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for all communications between the Secret… [...]