CDC Warns Agency Would Lose Access to Key Data If Emergency Declaration Ends

March 16, 2022  Zachary Stieber

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is warning that the end of the public health emergency for COVID-19 would cut the agency off from critical data for tracking the disease.

“CDC has no general statutory authority to direct what and how public health data are reported. Data authorities related to COVID-19 test results and hospitalizations are available now because of a public health emergency declaration. When that declaration lapses, so do the federal legal authorities to require the reporting of this important information,” a CDC spokesperson told The Epoch Times in an email.

The emergency was declared by then-Health Secretary Alex Azar in January 2020 during the Trump administration. It has been extended multiple times by Azar and his successor, Xavier Becerra, most recently on Jan. 14.

The declaration enables the CDC and other health agencies to take certain actions, including tapping into a financial reserve and waiving some requirements from the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. In a pandemic-era bill, Congress also ordered all laboratories that perform or analyze COVID-19 tests to report the results to the federal government until the declaration ends.

A separate national emergency declaration was made by former President Donald Trump in March 2020 and has been kept in place by President Joe Biden, who last extended it in February.