US health system suffers from data gaps


While countries like New Zealand, Singapore, and South Korea publish detailed near-real-time data on local coronavirus outbreaks, the US offers very few details on how the disease is spreading due to political meddling, privacy concerns, and long-time neglect of public health surveillance systems. CDC reports are often delayed until after they can influence outcomes, a problem that has not been helped by the Trump administration’s decision to divert data from the CDC to a new $10 million system at the Department of Health and Human Services. Many health departments still share data by fax, and in many places resources are insufficient to allow data analysis. In the absence of nationwide requirements for information reporting and insufficient contact tracing, policy makers and the public rely on media reports and independent efforts but can’t devise precisely tailored interventions.

Writer: Amy Maxmen
Publication: Nature