CDC Reportedly Reversing Much-Criticized Guidelines on Not Testing Asymptomatic People

The US has been hard hit by COVID-19 reporting about 6.7 million cases and about 193,000 deaths since the pandemic began

Alison Galvani, director for the Center for Infectious Disease Modeling and Analysis at Yale School of Medicine, who previously declared on Twitter that "This change in policy will kill", noted that the policy update was "a step in the right direction".

For those who know they've come into recent close contact with someone who has a documented infection from the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 - close contact meaning spending at least 15 minutes 1.83 m or closer to the person - the CDC now simply states: "You need a test".

"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.

It wasn't long after these changes were made that those like Tom Frieden, a former head of the CDC, began speculating that the guidance was forced upon the public health agency by higher-ups in the Trump administration.

You may remember a few weeks ago, the CDC guidelines were updated to say that asymptomatic people didn't need to be tested for the coronavirus, even if they had been exposed to it.

At the time, administration officials said the language originated at the CDC but the decision came out of meetings of the White House coronavirus task force.


The New York Times, citing internal federal documents and unnamed sources, on Thursday reported that the guidance was placed on the CDC's website over the objections of agency scientists.

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

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.

"Please consult with your healthcare provider or public health official".

The CDC's chief, Dr. Robert Redfield, issued a statement shortly after the controversy erupted that did little to clarify why the change was deemed necessary.

Still, the notion that bureaucrats at HHS "would write guidelines and have it posted under the CDC banner is absolutely chilling", Dr. Richard Besser, who served as acting director at the CDC in 2009, told the newspaper.

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