Maintain the integrity of COVID-19 data

On July 17, COPAFS joined nearly 100 other organizations, including American Public Health Association, and the American Statistical Association, in signing a letter addressed to Vice President Pence, Dr. Birx, and Secretary Azar, asking that the CDC remain the central repository for the COVID-19 data collected from hospitals, laboratories, and acute care centers.

The Honorable Mike Pence
The White House
Office of the Vice President
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20500
The Honorable Deborah Birx, MD
Coronavirus Task Force Response Coordinator
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20500
The Honorable Alex M. Azar II
U.S. Department of Health & Human Services
200 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20201

Dear Vice President Pence, Ambassador Birx and Secretary Azar,

The undersigned organizations write with urgency to strongly recommend that the administration immediately reverse its decision to bypass the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)in the collection and analysis of COVID-19 patient data. Our organizations represent healthcare providers,public health professionals, researchers and scientists, other healthcare professionals and patient advocates who have been central in responding to the pandemic.

Maintain the integrity of COVID-19 data. The administration’s abrupt decision to establish a new data collection procedure that bypasses the CDC as a recipient of data on patients hospitalized with COVID-19 is alarming and will undermine efforts to control the pandemic at a time when COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations are surging across the country. A core function of the CDC is to collect and report public health data and this important work is led by trained experts with the infrastructure necessary to ensure the validity and accuracy of the data in addition to protecting data from misuse. Placing medical data collection outside of the CDC puts the quality and integrity of the data at risk threatening to seriously undermine our country’s response to COVID-19.

Keep public health data public. COVID-19 data collection and reporting must be done in a transparent manner and must not be politicized, as these data are essential to informing an effective response to the pandemic and to establishing public trust in the response. Data transparency is particularly critical in the midst of an unprecedented national health crisis that is disproportionately impacting certain segments of the U.S. population, including Black/African American, Latinx and Native American communities.Widely accessed COVID-19 tracking sites have already lost access to ICU hospitalization data–a key indicator for monitoring the state of the pandemic.

Invest in CDC data reporting. Rather than investing in a new data collection mechanism and reporting infrastructure, we strongly urge the administration to provide funding to enhance data collection and 2strengthen the role of CDC to collect and report COVID-19 data by race and ethnicity, hospital and ICU capacity, total number of tests and percent positive, hospitalizations and deaths.This critical function belongs with our nation’s top public health agency.

Data is critical to the state and local response. The availability of accurate hospital data, coupled with other public health indicators,is essential for the state and local response. Jurisdictions need situational awareness about bed availability, shortages of supplies and personal protective equipment, and other healthcare needs in order to coordinate the response. Creating duplicate, siloed data reporting systems may make it harder for jurisdictions to get an accurate picture of the pandemic and limit visibility across neighboring states and localities.

Reliable, comprehensive and timely data are essential to monitor and evaluate the state of the pandemic and to inform an effective response, including the distribution of essential supplies and treatment. We urge you not to advance the new data collection plan any further and instead consult with the public health and healthcare communities to discuss effective strategies for ensuring the availability of the data we all need and want to bring the pandemic under control in the U.S.



AIDS Alabama

American Academy of HIV

MedicineAIDS Foundation of Chicago

AIDS Research Consortium of Atlanta

AIDS United

Alabama Rise

American Association for Anatomy

American Association for the Advancement of Science

American Association of Geographers

American Association on Health and Disability

American Association of Immunologists

American College of Nuclear Medicine

American College of Physicians

American Educational Research Association

American Institute of Biological Sciences

American Lung Association

American Medical Informatics Association(AMIA)

American Public Health Association

American Society for Microbiology

American Society of Pediatric Nephrology

American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene

American Sociological Association

American Statistical Association

American Thoracic Society

American Urological Association

amfAR, Foundation for AIDS Research

APIC –Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology

Association for Prevention Teaching and Research

Association for Women in Mathematics

Association of Nurses in AIDS Care

Association of Population Centers

Association of Public Data Users

Association of Schools Advancing Health Professions

Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health


Big Cities Health Coalition

Biophysical Society

Black AIDS Institute

Broom Center for Demography

Cascade AIDS Project

Center for Population Health and Aging

Center for Studies in Demography &Ecology, University of Washington

Conference Board of the Mathematical Sciences

Consortium of Social Science Associations

Council of Professional Associations on Federal Statistics

CUNY Institute for Demographic Research,City University of New York

Duke Population Research Center

Endocrine Society

Entomological Society of America

Epilepsy Foundation

Every Texan

Georgians for a Healthy Future

GLMA: Health Professionals Advancing LGBTQ Equality

GO2 Foundation for Lung Cancer


Health Care for All (Massachusetts) HIV Medicine Association

Hoosier Action

Infectious Diseases Society of America

International & American Associations for Dental Research

IRMA -International Rectal Microbicide Advocates

Lakeshore Foundation

Lambda Legal Mathematical Association of America


Medical Care Section –American Public Health

Association Mercy Care

National Black Nurses Association

Natural Science Collections


Neighborhood Health

New Mexico Center on Law & Poverty

North Carolina AIDS Action Network

Northwest Health Law Advocates

Oklahoma Policy Institute

Population Association of America

Prevent Blindness

Prevention Access Campaign

Prevention Institute

Protect Our Healthcare RI


Ryan White Medical Providers Coalition

San Francisco AIDS Foundation

Society of General Internal Medicine

Southern AIDS Coalition

Spina Bifida Association

Tennessee Health Care Campaign

Tennessee Justice Center

Tennessee Primary Care Association

Society of Infectious Diseases Pharmacists

Texas Interfaith Center for Public Policy/Texas Impact

The Hopkins Population Center

The Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America

The Society for Public Health Education

The Well Project

Thrive Alabama

Trust for America’s Health

University of Colorado Population Center

Utah Health Policy Project

UW Population Health Institute

WNAR, International Biometrics Society

Please contact the HIVMA Executive Director Andrea Weddle or the Infectious Diseases Society of America Vice President of Public Policy and Government Relations regarding this letter.