The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) removed the running tally of the number of people tested for coronavirus in the United States from their website, according to the Independent.
The low number of people tested in the U.S. suggest that the country’s response to the spread of the disease could be limited.
“The lack of testing is a scandal,” wrote Judd Legum, the journalist who first noticed the change, on Twitter. “This is the coverup.”
Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Wis.) said he had written to the director of the CDC, Robert R. Redfield, and demanded answers over the deletion, calling it incomprehensible.
“Americans are dying,” he wrote. “We deserve to know how many Americans have perished form COVID-19, and we deserve to know how many people have been tested for it.”
“Knowing that CDC testing is keeping pace with the likely number of cases is imperative to maintaining public trust. With that in mind, when will you return to publicly reporting the total number of deaths and tested persons on your website?” he continued.
The site showed that 472 people had been tested for the disease by the CDC, with 22 of them confirmed or presumed positive as of March 1. The number of people had disappeared a day later, while the number of cases had nearly doubled.
“Presumed positive” refers to cases where people have been shown to have coronavirus by state testing, but not by the CDC.
The previous requirement that testing be carried out by the CDC in Atlanta was criticized for slowing down the official response to the virus, but testing rules have been relaxed and states are now allowed to carry out their own diagnostics, which would then be confirmed by the CDC.
Authorities are focusing on increasing the number of testing kits. As more people are tested, officials warn that the number of confirmed cases is expected to spike.