Redfield “was unable to provide almost any information on that front,” Romney said, explaining the patchwork reporting system that hospitals and states use to report coronavirus infections. Some of them are done in pen and pencil which “struck me as the kind of thing that I would have expected from the 1960s, not the 2020s,” Romney said.
“We have one eye closed and the other eye is clouded over instead of having a clear, real time dashboard of all the patients in the country,” Romney said.
Romney made clear he was not blaming Redfield, the CDC or even President Donald Trump and his administration, even though Romney has been the GOP senator most critical of the president over the past year and voted to remove him from office during the Senate’s impeachment trial. He laid the current predicament at the feet of lackluster, long-running funding from Congress and lack of focus from several administrations.
“I blame, if you will, Congress and administrations, all of us who are responsible for public health not blowing the whistle on this,” Romney said. Notably, Congress on Thursday was finalizing approval of $25 billion for testing for coronavirus as part of a $484 billion coronavirus relief measure.
But that’s only a piece of the puzzle, the senators say. Even if testing expands, policymakers and politicians can’t make informed decisions without a treasure trove of data.
In the letter, Sinema and Romney indicated how problematic it could be for decisions to be made to reopen economies without a clear picture of what is happening nationwide. They expressed concern that there isn’t standardized data from each state and asked the CDC for a comprehensive look at state-by-state case information, hospitalization rates, patients’ treatment status, ICU statistics and demographics.