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Attorney General of Virginia

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Commonwealth of Virginia
Office of the Attorney General

Mark Herring
Attorney General

202 North Ninth Street
Richmond, Virginia 23219

 

For media inquiries only, contact:  
Charlotte Gomer, Press Secretary
Phone: (804)786-1022 
Mobile: (804) 512-2552
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

ATTORNEY GENERAL HERRING CALLS FOR IMMEDIATE WITHDRAWAL OF DIRECTIVE THAT STRIPS CDC OF CONTROL OVER CORONAVIRUS DATA

~ Herring joins multistate coalition in expressing serious concerns with new reporting structure that inhibits access to data ~

RICHMOND Attorney General Mark R. Herring today has joined a multistate effort urging the Trump Administration to immediately withdraw its new reporting structure that prohibits hospitals from reporting COVID-19 data to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and instead creates a system controlled solely by the U.S. Secretary of Health & Human Services. Attorney General Herring and his colleagues highlight that this new directive from the White House imperils public health and dangerously undermines transparency during the deadly COVID-19 pandemic.

 

In a letter sent to the U.S Department of Health & Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, Attorney General Herring and 21 other attorneys general urged the department to restore the CDC to its rightful role as the primary authority over and source of information about the nation’s public health data.

 

“Virginia relies on the information and data gathered by the CDC in order to help develop appropriate responses to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic,” said Attorney General Herring. “The middle of a public health crisis is not the time to change how public health information is reported in this country. We must be able to rely on and trust the public health data the federal government provides us to make sure we are making the right decisions to keep Virginians, their families, and communities safe and healthy,”

 

Attorney General Herring and his colleagues argue in the letter 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 coalition also points out that the CDC is the nation’s authority on infectious disease, and state and local public health authorities and researchers rely on CDC data sources for responding to the pandemic in their communities and informing the science behind the virus. Disaggregated data provided by the CDC has also revealed the disparate impact of COVID-19 on communities of color and informed efforts to address racial and ethnic health inequities. The attorneys general insist that public health authorities and researchers must have access to the data they need to continue their vital work. This new reporting structure requires hospital data be reported in a separate system than nursing home data and gives sensitive information to private contractors without assurance of appropriate protections.

 

The attorneys general contend that any issues with COVID-19 data reporting, analysis and tracking should be addressed by increasing support for the CDC and investing in its systems – not by circumventing the nation’s top public health experts. 

 

Joining Attorney General Herring in sending today’s letter are the attorneys general of California, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington.

 

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