Trump’s CDC data policy won’t hurt your favorite coronavirus tracker

Health experts got startling news this week, as the Trump administration told hospitals to bypass the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and report their data on COVID-19 patients directly to the Department of Health and Human Services.

As the New York Times reported, “the Health and Human Services database that will receive new information is not open to the public, which could affect the work of scores of researchers, modelers and health officials who rely on C.D.C. data to make projections and crucial decisions.”

That might worry people interested in tracking the spread of the virus. There are some popular online tools, such as the Johns Hopkins COVID-19 dashboard, that provide detailed, up-to-date statistics about infections rates in states and countries.

Thankfully, the Johns Hopkins dashboard will be unaffected by the new policy. A spokesperson for Johns Hopkins University told Digital Trends that the university “used the CDC as reference earlier in the pandemic in January and February … We do not currently source any data from the CDC, so reporting on JHU’s coronavirus dashboards (U.S. & Global) will not be affected.”

For the U.S., the Johns Hopkins dashboard sources data from state governments, agencies, and health departments. A full list of every source the dashboard has ever pulled from is located here.

While the new data policy won’t hurt the dashboard, the question remains of whether HHS will be transparent with the data it collects. We’ve reached out to the Department of Health and Human Services for comment and will update this story with any new information.

For the latest updates on the coronavirus outbreak, visit the World Health Organization’s COVID-19 page.

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