HHS’s hospitalization data are good, actually

A new analysis, published this past Friday by the COVID Tracking Project, highlights how reliable the HHS dataset has become. The analysis compares HHS’s counts of hospitalized COVID-19 patients to the Project’s counts, compiled from states. This recent work benefits from HHS’s expanded metrics and more thorough documentation from both the federal agency and states, and it finds that the two datasets match well when adjusting for definitional differences.

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HHS changes may drive hospitalization reporting challenges

This past week, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) opened up a new area of data reporting for hospitals around the country. In addition to their numbers of COVID-19 patients and supply needs, hospitals are now asked to report their numbers of influenza patients, including flu patients in the ICU and those diagnosed with both flu and COVID-19.

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CDC’s failure to resist political takeover

This past week, two outlets published major investigations of the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC). The first story, by Science’s Charles Piller, focuses on White House Coronavirus Task Force Coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx and her role in the hospitalization data switch from the CDC to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The second story, by ProPublica’s James Bandler, Patricia Callahan, Sebastian Rotella, and Kristen Berg, provides a broader view of internal CDC dynamics and challenges since the start of the pandemic.

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HHS hospitalization data: more questions arise

Last Tuesday, the post on COVID-19 hospitalization data that I cowrote with Rebecca Glassman was published on the COVID Tracking Project’s blog. We pointed out significant discrepancies between the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)’s counts of currently hospitalized COVID-19 patients and counts from state public health departments.

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HHS hospitalization data: still questionable

I, along with other COVID Tracking Project (CTP) volunteers, have been monitoring both hospitalization counts daily—the two counts being, HHS’s numbers and state-reported numbers compiled by CTP. Rebecca Glassman (data entry volunteer and resident Florida expert) and I have drafted a blog post for CTP about the biggest discrepancies we’ve seen, which will be published in the next few days.

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Hospital capacity dataset gets a makeover

On July 14, the White House announced that hospitals across America would no longer report their COVID-19 patient numbers and supply needs to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Instead, they would report numbers through a data portal set up in April by the Department of Health & Human Services (HHS). A July 10 guidance issued by HHS requests that hospitals send reports on how many overall patients they have, how many COVID-19 patients they have, the status of those patients, and their needs for crucial supplies such as PPE and remdesivir.

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