NPR: “As coronavirus cases rise swiftly around the country, surpassing both the spring and summer surges, health officials brace for a coming wave of hospitalizations and deaths. Knowing which hospitals in which communities are reaching capacity could be key to an effective response to the growing crisis. That information is gathered by the federal government — but not shared openly with the public. NPR has obtained documents that give a snapshot of data the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services collects and analyzes daily. The documents — reports sent to agency staffers — highlight trends in hospitalizations and pinpoint cities nearing full hospital capacity and facilities under stress. They paint a granular picture of the strain on hospitals across the country that could help local citizens decide when to take extra precautions against COVID-19. Withholding this information from the public and the research community is a missed opportunity to help prevent outbreaks and even save lives, say public health and data experts who reviewed the documents for NPR.
At this point, I think it’s reckless. It’s endangering people,” says Ryan Panchadsaram, co-founder of the website COVID Exit Strategy and a former data official in the Obama administration. “We’re now in the third wave, and I think our only way out is really open, transparent and actionable information.” The documents show that detailed information hospitals report to HHS every day is reviewed and analyzed — but circulation seems to be limited to a few dozen government staffers from HHS and its agencies, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and National Institutes of Health, according to distribution lists reviewed by NPR. Only one member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, Adm. Brett Giroir, appears to receive the documents directly…”
See also The COVID Tracking Project – “Third Surge Brings Record-Breaking Case Rates Across the Nation, This Week in COVID-19 Data, Oct 29. Unlike the spring and summer outbreaks, the third surge is geographically dispersed, and counts are up in every region of the country. An increase in testing is not sufficient to explain the numbers…”