Wittman Sends Letter Asking to Keep COVID-19 Data Public

Google+ Pinterest LinkedIn Tumblr +

Provided by Congressman Rob Wittman’s Office

On Friday, Congressman Rob Wittman (VA-01) sent a letter to the White House Coronavirus Task Force requesting the continued public release of data relating to COVID-19 across the United States. This would better assist states, localities, researchers, and the general public in their understanding and combatting of the novel Coronavirus.

“I want to stress the importance of maintaining transparency of this data for a successful COVID response plan,” Wittman wrote. “America’s scientists, researchers, health officials, modelers, and federal, state, and local agencies rely on this data to make projections and decisions on how best to implement responses to the coronavirus pandemic.

“Going forward, I would encourage the Department to work to protect and maintain the quality and transparency of data shared with the public. During this pandemic CDC’s data sharing has been critical in informing ongoing University research, federal partner agencies, states and the general public in the fight against COVID-19. I believe that this shared data will continue to be crucial to our Nation’s response.”

Congressman Wittman serves as Co-chair of the Congressional Public Health Caucus and, prior to his election to Congress, spent over 25 years working in public health.

Here is Congressman Wittman’s letter in full:

Vice President Michael Pence, Chair, White House Coronavirus Task Force

Dr. Deborah Birx, Response Coordinator, White House Coronavirus Task Force

United States Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar

Dear Vice President Pence and the White House Task Force:

 I’m writing regarding the new direction by the Administration to have hospitals report data on coronavirus patients to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) instead of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). I want to stress the importance of maintaining transparency of this data for a successful COVID response plan.  America’s scientists, researchers, health officials, modelers, and federal, state, and local agencies rely on this data to make projections and decisions on how best to implement responses to the coronavirus pandemic.

As a scientist who spent more than 25 years in public health service, I know the important role that sound science and data must play in informing and addressing public health emergencies. I appreciate your Department’s efforts to innovate and upgrade admittedly old and outdated data management and reporting systems to collect accurate and daily data to guide planning, monitoring and supply allocations. I am encouraged that you are moving to streamline hospital reporting and modernize data entry systems to better respond to this public health emergency.  However, it is important that the Administration continues the practice of providing quality and transparent data to state and federal partners, along with the public, as your Department implements new COVID-19 hospital reporting data requirements. Our nation’s ongoing efforts to successfully combat this pandemic will continue to rely on the vital contribution of America’s scientists, researchers and innovators leading the world in defeating COVID-19.   

 Going forward I would encourage the Department to work to protect and maintain the quality and transparency of data shared with the public. During this pandemic CDC’s data sharing has been critical in informing ongoing University research, federal partner agencies, states and the general public in the fight against COVID-19. I believe that this shared data will continue to be crucial to our Nation’s response. I would appreciate an update on the Department’s plans and efforts to ensure the availability of this information for researchers, scientists and the public. I also look forward to ongoing efforts to continue to enhance and improve data collection and accessibility to address this and future health emergencies.

 I look forward to continuing to work with the Administration and the talented public health officials, and scientists across the country as together we defeat and overcome this crisis.

Sincerely,

Congressman Rob Wittman represents the 1st District of Virginia. He serves on the House Natural Resources Committee and the House Armed Services Committee, where he serves as the ranking member of the Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee.

Share.

Comments are closed.