The roots of the nation’s current inability to control the pandemic can be traced to mid-April, when the White House embraced overly rosy projections to proclaim victory and move on.
But their ultimate goal was to shift responsibility for leading the fight against the pandemic from the White House to the states. They referred to this as “state authority handoff,” and it was at the heart of what would become at once a catastrophic policy blunder and an attempt to escape blame for a crisis that had engulfed the country — perhaps one of the greatest failures of presidential leadership in generations.
In the middle of a massive pandemic seems the perfect time to revise the format in which states share information, reroute that information so it bypasses the CDC, and employ the National Guard to make sure that individual hospitals are entering the data “right.” If the latest White House scheme looks like a blatant effort to “solve” the pandemic by simply changing the data … well, yes. It does. With Donald Trump claiming that increases in cases are due to testing—please ignore the filling hospitals and growing deaths—putting the numbers in the hands of the White House is an invitation to turn the basic information of the crisis into the basis of propaganda.
As CNBC reports, sites like Covid Exit Strategy, which had been providing the public (and publications) with regularly updated information on the effectiveness of state-level actions, had found the data that’s required suddenly unavailable. This wasn’t a subtle change, or a loss of minor features. It’s sudden and complete in access to the core information needed to show what tactics are working and how healthcare systems are to being overwhelmed.