3.6 million infected? 140,000 dead? No problem!

George Orwell, Nineteen Eighty-Four:

But actually, he thought as he re-adjusted the Ministry of Plenty’s figures, it was not even forgery. It was merely the substitution of one piece of nonsense for another. Most of the material that you were dealing with had no connexion with anything in the real world, not even the kind of connexion that is contained in a direct lie. Statistics were just as much a fantasy in their original version as in their rectified version. A great deal of the time you were expected to make them up out of your head.

For example, the Ministry of Plenty’s forecast had estimated the output of boots for the quarter at 145 million pairs. The actual output was given as sixty-two millions. Winston, however, in rewriting the forecast, marked the figure down to fifty-seven millions, so as to allow for the usual claim that the quota had been overfulfilled. In any case, sixty-two millions was no nearer the truth than fifty-seven millions, or than 145 millions. Very likely no boots had been produced at all. Likelier still, nobody knew how many had been produced, much less cared. All one knew was that every quarter astronomical numbers of boots were produced on paper, while perhaps half the population of Oceania went barefoot. And so it was with every class of recorded fact, great or small. Everything faded away into a shadow-world in which, finally, even the date of the year had become uncertain.

America, Twenty Twenty:

White House tells hospitals to bypass CDC on COVID-19 data reporting

Hospitals will begin sending coronavirus-related information directly to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), not the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), under new instructions from the Trump administration.

...The CDC tracked information including how many beds are available, the number of ventilators available and how many COVID-19 patients the hospitals have. 

...the move comes amid concerns that the White House has been sidelining the CDC and after Trump administration officials attacked Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert and a member of the White House coronavirus task force.

And sure enough...

I had hoped it was a glitch, but no...The @CDCgov hospital capacity dashboard has gone dark. @CDCDirector has said CDC still has access to the data but apparently the public no longer does. pic.twitter.com/FyRt7YHvKc

— Charles Ornstein (@charlesornstein) July 16, 2020

It's ok, though...I'm sure the White House will simply chalk up the thousands of people disappearing everyday as an unfortunate rash of people falling out of windows.

UPDATE: Well, that was short-lived...sort of:

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention restored a web page Thursday with national hospitalization data, including that related to COVID-19. The Trump administration reportedly received backlash after it was taken down, but the restored information may not be updated going forward.

This came after the Department of Health and Human Services told hospitals last week to no longer submit its COVID-19 information to the CDC's National Healthcare Safety Network and to send it to HHS instead. It has sparked concerns about transparency and public access to the data.

The thing is, the data is still available from state and county-level health department websites...for the most part. The problem isn't that the data isn't available at all, it's that it's gone from being available from every state across the country in a single, official, federal location...to being a scattershot collection of partial data subject to the whims of the powers that be at the state or local level.

Trump can't hide the truth, but he can sure as hell break it up into harder-to-analyze chunks.