THE NEUTRAL ZONE
It is no longer necessary for those who have been in close contact with infected people to get tested as long as they don’t feel sick, according to revised guidelines set Wednesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC previously advised people to get tested if they have been within 6 feet of an infected person for more than 15 minutes. Nevada, California, and New York have stated that they will continue to test asymptomatic individuals.
Health experts pushed back, calling the move baffling and dangerous “Given that a larger number of people who get infected will not have symptoms, it is essential that people who have been exposed are tested,” Richar Besser, who served as acting CDC director in 2009, said. “This change in guidance… will decrease trust in our nation’s public health agency at a time when trust is essential.”
Dr. Anthony Fauci, White House Coronavirus Task Force advisor and director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said he was in surgery on August 20 and was not part of the discussion regarding the updated guidelines. “I am concerned about the interpretation of these recommendations and worried it will give people the incorrect assumption that asymptomatic spread is not of great concern,” he said. “In fact it is.”
Admiral Brett Giroir, Assistant Secretary for Health at the Department of Health and Human Services, denied allegations that Trump administration officials involved with the White House coronavirus task force ordered the CDC to stop promoting testing for asymptomatic people. “The new guidelines are a CDC action,” Giroir said. “As always, the guidelines received appropriate attention, consultation and input from Task Force experts, and I mean the medical and scientific experts, including CDC Director [Robert] Redfield.”
CDC did not get orders from President Trump to change coronavirus testing guidelines, HHS says – Fox News – 8/27/2020
Giroir also said in the meeting that the new recommendations will enable “winning against false sense of security,” explaining that some individuals may take a COVID-19 test too soon after exposure, which could result in a false negative, and in turn, run the risk of that person exposing others to coronavirus. The new guidelines look to prevent this, and also get more appropriate testing.
‘This change in policy will kill’: Experts troubled by CDC changes to COVID-19 testing guidelines – USA Today – 8/27/2020
“Our work on the ‘silent’ spread underscored the importance of testing people who have been exposed to COVID-19 regardless of symptoms,” tweeted Alison Galvani, director for the Center for Infectious Disease Modeling and Analysis at Yale School of Medicine. “This change in policy will kill.”
Andrew Cuomo Claims New CDC Guidelines On Traveling Based On Politics, Not Science – The Daily Wire – 8/26/2020
The governor who mandated coronavirus-positive patients be sent into nursing homes with little to no notice is now claiming the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is playing politics after the agency updated its recommendation on quarantining after travel.
CDC’s New Testing Guidelines Appear to Follow Trump’s Call to “Slow the Testing” – Truthout – 8/26/2020
Although a statement from an HHS official suggested that the change had been made to “reflect current evidence and best public health practices,” the agency was not clear on what the new evidence was that necessitated creating new guidelines. Additionally, a separate health official within the federal government told CNN that the change came about due to pressure from the White House.