October 19, 2020
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, on World Statistics Day, Rep. Scott Peters (CA-52) released the following statement to remind people of the dire need to fix the inconsistencies in data collection and reporting that have weakened our country’s response to the coronavirus pandemic:
“As we approach the third major surge of COVID-19 cases this year, we must establish national protocols to track the effects of this disease so that researchers have the data they need to tackle it. Their work today and tomorrow depends on our ability to collect, streamline and share quality information – a difficult task given our outdated and futile data infrastructure.”
“The United States currently has no common national, state, county or city-level requirement for COVID-19 data collection or reporting. This lack of standards, paired with the absence of a centralized network for information exchange between public health departments, labs, clinics, hospitals and federal agencies, makes it impossible to coordinate efforts to combat the virus.
“That’s why I teamed up with three colleagues in August to introduce the bipartisan Health STATISTICS Act of 2020. Our bill would rapidly coordinate decentralized data systems in order to significantly help our nation's real-time response to public health emergencies. It would also ensure vital information often missing from current reports, such as race, age, presence of pre-existing conditions and mortality data, is collected and shared so patterns can be identified and relief more rapidly deployed.”
Upon introduction, Christopher A. Longhurst, MD, MS, Professor of Pediatrics and Medicine at UC San Diego Health, lauded the Health STATISTICS Act as “the most important development in making vital statistics data electronically available and broadly actionable in the last 40 years.”
Rep. Peters continued, “Today is a special day to remember that statistics represent the living truths of real people. We owe it to those we’ve lost, those grieving and those forever changed by this pandemic to effectively record what is happening and react based on accurate analysis.”