Last week, there was a bit of a dustup over the administration’s decision to have COID-19 hospital data sent to HHS directly and not sent to the CDC. While I think that’s a bad move, largely because it will take a while for the new system to work out the kinks (I have experience in handling similar data; this is not a trivial problem), I did, at the time, snark the following on the Twitterz:
As the kids used to say, you’ll never believe what happened next (boldface mine):
Bhatia and other epidemiologists, in California and across the country, are especially aggrieved after recent news reports revealed states are feeding the same data they desire to a federal contractor, Palantir Technologies, that has drawn criticism for data work supporting Immigration and Customs Enforcement deportations. For a data platform dubbed HHS Protect, Palantir is aggregating information on the spread of the new coronavirus on behalf of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), drawing on more than 225 data sets, including demographic statistics, community-based tests, and a wide range of state-provided data.(This week, sparking widespread concern among public health experts, epidemiologists, and others, HHS also directed hospitals to provide data on COVID-19 cases and patient information to the Palantir system—largely via a second contractor, TeleTracking Technologies—rather than to CDC as they have for decades).
I’ll just note that Palantir has tried to get involved in everything HHS touches. For all I know, it might be a better system, but always follow the money.