(WASHINGTON, D.C.) — Congressman Jamie Raskin (MD-08) joined U.S. Representative Pramila Jayapal (WA-07) and 68 members of Congress in calling on the Trump Administration to immediately rescind their corrupt new guidance to send COVID-19 hospital data to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) instead of allowing the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to continue handling and publicly reporting this critically essential data. Today’s letter—written to HHS Secretary Alex Azar—makes clear that the country needs timely and accurate information to curve recent spikes in cases and prevent additional deaths while also fully understanding and addressing racial and ethnic disparities. While Americans can trust the CDC to provide that, HHS too often puts politics and this president first.
“We will not allow health experts to be silenced,” said Congresswoman Jayapal. “At a time when we’ve already lost more American lives from COVID-19 than we did during World War I, the Trump administration must take responsibility for spreading misinformation and engaging in a fully flawed response effort instead of corruptly trying to hide the truth, cover up the facts and change the data.”
“Saving lives and ensuring the well-being of all individuals should not be a political issue. The Trump Administration must put its own interests aside and put the American people first,” the lawmakers wrote in their letter. “The safety of our nation depends on our ability to act quickly, accurately, and responsibly. It is time we prioritize the health, safety, and life of all individuals by fully confronting the soaring number of cases we are facing right now.”
The full letter is available here.
With more than 3.5 million cases and more than 138,300 deaths, the United States leads the world in the number of COVID-19 cases and deaths. An average of 1,000 lives have been lost each day in the United States since the onset of the outbreak. Black and Latinx people have been three times as likely to become infected as their white neighbors, and nearly twice as likely to die from the virus. Additionally, just this week, Dr. Robert Redfield, Director of the CDC, stated “the fall and the winter of 2020 and 2021 are going to be the probably one of the most difficult times that we’ve experienced in American public health.” Timely and accurate data reported to the CDC enables states, epidemiologists and scientists to track the course of the pandemic and make informed decisions about how best to move forward.
On Wednesday, the Trump Administration mandated that hospitals must sidestep the CDC and send critical information about COVID-19 hospitalizations and equipment directly to HHS. From the start of the pandemic, the CDC has collected data on COVID-19 hospitalizations, availability of intensive care beds and personal protective equipment. COVID-19 data has already disappeared from the CDC’s website after the administration shifted control to HHS.
The letter was signed by Reps. Jayapal, Adams, Aguilar, Barragán, Bass, Beatty, Bera, Bishop, Bonamici, Brownley, Carson, Castor, Chu, Cicilline, Cisneros, Clarke, Clay, Cleaver, Cohen, Cooper, Engel, DeFazio, DeLauro, DeSaulnier, Deutch, Espaillat, Evans, Foster, Gallego, García of Illinois, Garcia of Texas, Gonzalez of Texas, Grijalva, Haaland, Hayes, Higgins, Huffman, Kaptur, Kennedy, Khanna, Kilmer, Larson, Lee of California, Levin of Michigan, Lofgren, Lowenthal, Lowey, McGovern, Meng, Morelle, Moulton, Nadler, Norton, Pingree, Pocan, Pressley, Price, Raskin, Rice of New York, Rose of New York, Schneider, Serrano, Smith of Washington, Suozzi, Thompson of Mississippi, Speier, Velázquez, Welch and Yarmuth.