CDC - again - changes COVID-19 guidelines. Now asymptomatic people need a test

CDC drops controversial testing advice that caused backlash

"Due to the significance of asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic transmission, this guidance further reinforces the need to test asymptomatic persons, including close contacts of a person with documented SARS-CoV-2 infection", the CDC says.

On Thursday, the New York Times reported that HHS officials wrote the revised testing guidelines about not testing asymptomatic individuals, and placed them on the CDC's website over agency scientists' objections.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reversed controversial guidance on coronavirus testing Friday, now recommending that people who have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 should get tested, even if they're not symptomatic.

The update comes just a day after The New York Times reported that the recommendation came from Trump administration political appointees, skipping the agency's traditional rigorous scientific review and the fact that several scientists objected to it.

Now the new guidance says that people without symptoms who have been in close contact with an infected person "need a test".

In a decision that has left many public health experts confused and suspicious, the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention has abruptly changed its testing guidelines for covid-19.

That guidance stated it is not necessary to test people with no COVID-19 symptoms, even if they had been exposed to it.

An official told the Times that the guidelines "came from the top down", meaning the HHS and the White House's COVID-19 task force.

Adm. Brett Giroir, assistant secretary for health in the Department of Health and Human Services, defended the policy, asserting that screening asymptomatic contacts of infected people was unhelpful and testing should focus on individuals with symptoms. "President Trump's political minions need to take their hands off the CDC, and Director Redfield should quit if they don't". The testing guidelines released on Friday were changed by HHS and did not go through the CDC's typical review, according to the Times report.

The NYT also reported that scientists at the CDC strenuously objected to the new guidelines but were told by senior staff in an email obtained by the NYT that: "We do not have the ability to make substantial edits".

HHS and CDC did not immediately return requests for comment.

Adriane Casalotti, of the National Association of County and City Health Officials, said the now-deleted guidance caused confusion among the public.



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