Last week, U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Fla., brought out the “Ensuring Transparent Honest Information on COVID-19 (ETHIC) Act” which will “require reporting of COVID-19 data from states, localities, tribes and territories to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and give the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) the tools needed to improve national public health data systems.”
Castor weighed in on Thursday as to why she had introduced the bill.
“We have heard troubling stories over the past year about the lack of transparency around COVID-19 data from many states and the federal government,” said Castor. “Right here in Florida, we have seen a troubling pattern of withholding or censoring data regarding nursing home infections and deaths, overall mortality data and more. It is dangerous to hide valuable information or cause confusion in health data reporting.”
“Consistent and transparent reporting of COVID-19 data keeps our public health experts, small businesses and neighbors equipped to fight the coronavirus, keeps families safe, and provides tools to crush the virus. A lack of transparency can impact the work to properly combat the virus and hamper our ability to target resources to communities hardest hit by COVID-19 and other drivers of health disparities. Transparency and honesty from leaders are vital to keep our neighbors safe and healthy and give them peace of mind during this devastating pandemic. This legislation holds states accountable in the reporting of data and responds to concerns from Florida hospitals and health experts,” added Castor.
U.S. Rep. Lauren Underwood, D-Ill., is the only co-sponsor of the bill so far.
“Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, we have continued to see significant gaps in the collection and reporting of critical COVID-19 data, hindering our ability to contain the spread of the virus and mitigate racial and ethnic disparities,” said Underwood. “I’m proud to join Rep. Castor in introducing the ETHIC Act to promote transparency with COVID-19 data collection and reporting so that we can crush the virus and rebuild our economy.”
Castor’s bill was sent to the U.S. House Oversight and Reform and the Energy and Commerce Committees. So far, there is no companion measure over in the U.S. Senate.
Reach Kevin Derby at firstname.lastname@example.org.