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CDC dramatically restores COVID-19 testing advice marred by political meddling

Enlarge / The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) headquarters stands in Atlanta, Georgia, US, on Saturday, March 14, 2020. As the novel coronavirus has spread in the US, the CDC is under increasing heat to defend a shaky rollout of crucial testing kits. Photographer: Elijah Nouvelage/Bloomberg via Getty ImagesGetty | Bloomberg

In a dramatic move, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday restored its recommendation to test people who have been exposed to COVID-19 but dont have symptoms—erasing politically motivated changes made by members of the Trump administration without the support or input from CDC scientists.

The CDC had—until August 24—always recommended testing for all people who have had close contact (within 6 feet for 15 minutes or more) with someone infected with the pandemic coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, regardless of symptoms. The CDC stated clearly that this is “important” and should be done quickly “because of the potential for asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic transmission,” which is largely thought to drive the pandemic.

But the guidance was abruptly and quietly changed August 24 to say that exposed people who do not have symptoms “do not necessarily need a test.”

Doctors and infectious disease experts immediately blasted the change. The Infectious Diseases Society of America called for “the immediate reversal of the abrupt revision.” And American Medical Association President Susan Bailey called the revision “a recipe for community spread and more spikes in coronavirus.”

  • The restored guidance on Friday, September 18 CDC
  • Changes made by the Trump administration on August 24. CDC
  • CDC's recommendation prior to August 24, 2020. CDC, Web Archive

Admiral Brett Giroir—assistant secretary for Health at the Department of Health and Human Services and lead for COVID-19 diagnostic testing efforts—emphatically defended the change, saying it originated at the CDC and was supported by members of the White House coronavirus task force.

But media reports quickly contradicted his comments. On August 26, CNN reported that an anonymous official at the CDC said the change did not originate with scientists at the agency but from the upper ranks of the Trump administration. “Its coming from the top down," the official said.

You need a test

CNN also reported that Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a key expert on the White House coronavirus task force, Read More – Source

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