Under a new federal mandate, the COVID-19 data that U.S. hospitals had been sending directly to the Centers for Disease Control and prevention are now being sent to a different central database, using a system run by a private technology firm.
The change raised concerns among public health experts, who warned the new directive might be a move to sideline the CDC, the leading public health agency in the U.S.
Samuel Scarpino, an assistant professor who runs the Emergent Epidemics lab at Northeastern, says that barring a catastrophe, such as computing systems being hacked or destroyed, changing the way data is collected in the midst of a public health crisis is far from ideal.
“It’s a horrible idea—that’s the technical term for it,” Scarpino says.
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