Biden White House To Circumvent Governors, Publicly Release Weekly State COVID Reports

Jan 28, 2021

The Biden White House announced Wednesday it will publicly release weekly, state-level COVID-19 reports previously kept from view of anyone but state officials. 

“We are now sharing previously hidden weekly COVID-19 state profile reports with the public,” Dr. Cyrus Shahpar, the new White House COVID-19 data director, wrote on Twitter

Gov. Kevin Stitt’s administration announced last month that the reports for Oklahoma would no longer be publicly released by the state, following a policy change by the Trump administration requiring states to opt into receiving the reports. Public health officials expressed concern over the choice.

The most recent report, dated Sunday, lists Oklahoma as having the highest test positivity rate in the country, a ranking it has held since December. The state also ranks ninth-worst for new hospital admissions, tenth-worst for new infections and fifteenth-worst for new deaths. 

The Sunday report does not contain specific recommendations tailored to Oklahoma’s outbreak, as past reports had. 

“The weekly State Profile Reports are currently under review. The format and content may change in coming reports,” it reads. 

Jeffrey Zients, the new White House COVID-19 response coordinator, said at a press briefing Wednesday he had participated in a call with the nation’s governors this week. Neither a White House spokesperson nor Stitt’s office returned a request for comment on the nature of the call.