Coronavirus: CDC quietly downplays testing need for asymptomatic people
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is no longer recommending testing for everyone who’s been exposed to Covid-19, saying people who don’t have symptoms “do not necessarily need a test.”
- The agency quietly revised its testing guidance for asymptomatic individuals Monday, advising people who are vulnerable to the virus to get tested if they have been within 6 feet of an infected individual for at least 15 minutes.The agency previously recommended testing for anyone with a “recent known or suspected exposure” to the virus even if they did not have symptoms.
- “You do not necessarily need a test unless you are a vulnerable individual or your health care provider or State or local public health officials recommend you take one,” the CDC’s site now says of people without symptoms who were in close contact with an infected person for at least 15 minutes. “A negative test does not mean you will not develop an infection from the close contact or contract an infection at a later time.”
- “current best estimate” is that up to 50% of spread of the virus occurs before patients begin to experience symptoms.
- Assistant Secretary for Health Adm. Brett Giroir, who leads the Trump administration’s testing effort, defended the policy change, saying it empowers local health officials and clinicians.
- He also denied allegations of bowing to political pressure from the Trump administration.
- “Let me tell you, right up front that the new guidelines are a CDC action,” he said, adding that members of the White House coronavirus task force, including Dr. Anthony Fauci and CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield, discussed and agreed on the new guidelines.
- New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo also slammed the change in guidance, calling it “political propaganda” designed to support the reelection efforts of President Donald Trump.