“All these stories about undercounts, overcounts, miscounts, are undermining our ability to deal with the pandemic,” said Irwin Redlener, a public health expert at Columbia University. The country, he said, is confronting an “unheard of level of chaos in the data, the protocols, the information.”
The problems are widespread and have infiltrated federal health agencies as well. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention blended diagnostic and antibody tests, boosting the nation’s overall testing numbers.
The Department of Health and Human Services took out of context data on the danger of “deaths of despair” from overdoses and suicides amid an economic debacle, according to the authors of the report in question. On Tuesday, an ethics center at Harvard rebuked the White House for misleadingly citing numbers from one of its studies to buttress the administration’s national testing report.
Nearly half the U.S., meanwhile, has registered rising caseloads as states press ahead with reopening the economy. While some of that reflects increased testing, an accompanying uptick in hospitalizations is worrying experts, including former FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb.