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At every turn the distortion of data has been central to the U.S. government’s disastrous response to the coronavirus

Highline – HuffPo – “This is an accounting of the damage…The administration has failed on so many different fronts in its handling of the coronavirus, creating the overall impression of sheer mayhem. But there is a common thread that runs through these government malfunctions. Precise, transparent data is crucial in the fight against a pandemic—yet through a combination of ineptness and active manipulation, the government has depleted and corrupted the key statistics that public health officials rely on to protect us….One of the administration’s most consequential failures was that it didn’t establish uniform reporting standards for states and counties. All the numbers from local agencies were just tipped into a mass of detail that was “inconsistent, incomplete, and inaccessible,” according to a report published by the American Public Health Association, the Johns Hopkins Center, and Resolve to Save Lives, a nonprofit led by a former CDC director. But Trump also urged authorities to slow down coronavirus testing. “Instead of 25 million tests, let’s say we did 10 million tests,” he told CBN News. “We’d look like we were doing much better because we’d have far fewer cases. You understand that.” [h/t Barclay Walsh]

…The erosion of data across the federal government is particularly insidious because it’s relatively invisible to the public at large. Often, the only people who know the value of these sets of numbers are those who work with them daily. The life-and-death implications of data can be highly technical and hard to convey. But looking at the kinds of data being erased, a clear narrative of political intent emerges….”

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