Officials working on the Trump administration’s data collection efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic have suggested to transition officials for President-elect Joe Biden that the new team get rid of a newly minted system originally designed by the Silicon Valley company Palantir, warning that it is not accurate.
Palantir, the data-mining firm created by investor Peter Thiel, a close ally of President Donald Trump, is known for its work with global intelligence, military and law enforcement agencies. It secured a contract with the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) last year to help the federal government develop a better system—HHS Protect— to track how hospitals across the country were handling the surge in COVID-19 cases. The system tracks hospitals’ supplies, cases, and testing, among other things. Sources familiar with the design previously told The Daily Beast that Palantir’s data suites were one of the primary tools used to develop the platform.
For months, Vice President Mike Pence has hailed the new HHS system as revolutionary, telling the nation’s governors on several different calls, recordings of which were obtained by The Daily Beast, that the federal government had the ability to see exactly what hospitals needed in real time, including detailed information on personal protective equipment, admissions, the availability of ICU beds, drugs and other medical supplies, as well as testing capacity. As recently as this week, the HHS system began reporting which locations throughout the country had received shipments of monoclonal antibody therapeutics.