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July 16, 2020

Rep. Pressley’s Statement on Trump Administration Guidance on COVID-19 Data Collection

WASHINGTON – Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (MA-07) issued the following statement regarding the Trump administration’s decision to strip the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) of its role as a collector of critical COVID-19 data—such as racial disparities—and direct hospitals to send that information directly to a private database.

“History has shown us that in the face of any public health crisis, Black, brown and indigenous communities disproportionately suffer—and this pandemic is no exception. From the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, I have led calls for the Trump Administration to begin collecting and publishing demographic data on COVID-19 testing and treatment to guide our policymaking and help address racial disparities. I introduced bicameral legislation with Senator Warren to require the Administration to collect and publicly report demographic data on the CDC website—language that was signed into law as part of the CARES Act.

“Four months later, as this pandemic continues to ravage Black and brown communities and exacerbate the systemic inequities in our healthcare system, the Trump administration has chosen to reroute important COVID-19 data, like racial and ethnic disparities, from the CDC’s public database to a private portal operated by political appointees.

“This shameful and transparent attempt to hide its incompetence and further politicize this pandemic is dangerous and will only result in putting more lives at risk.

“If we truly aim to overcome this public health crisis, we must continue to collect this critical data, make it publicly accessible, and heed the advice of our public health experts. The cruelty and negligence of this administration knows no bounds, and there must be accountability.”

Congresswoman Pressley has led efforts in Congress to press the Trump Administration to respond effectively to this crisis and address existing racial disparities in the United States.

  • She and Senator Elizabeth Warren have introduced bicameral legislation to require the federal government to collect and report coronavirus demographic data–including race and ethnicity.
  • In March, the lawmakers urged HHS to collect racial and ethnic demographic data on testing and treatment for COVID-19 to identify and address racial disparities.
  • The lawmakers also sent a letter to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) calling on the agency to immediately release racial and ethnic data of Medicare beneficiaries who are tested or hospitalized for COVID-19.
  • This week, Congresswoman Pressley and Senator Warren wrote to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) asking for HHS’s report on the administration’s efforts to address racial disparities in health care access and outcomes, as required by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA).

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