• By The Financial District


The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said this week that people exposed to COVID-19 but not symptomatic may not need to be tested, shocking doctors and politicians and prompting accusations the guidance was politically motivated. The advice marks a reversal of the agency’s previous position recommending testing for all close contacts of people diagnosed with COVID-19.

Admiral Brett Giroir, the assistant secretary for health at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), said the goal was “appropriate testing,” not more testing for its own sake, and that there was no political pressure from the administration behind the decision, Carl O’Donnell and Mrinalika Roy reported for CNN on August 27, 2020.

CNN and The New York Times reported on Wednesday (Thursday, August 27, 2020 in Manila) that US public health officials were ordered by high-level members of the Trump administration to push forward with the changes. “This was a product produced by the scientific and medical people that was discussed extensively at the task force,” said Giroir. The task force is led by Vice President Mike Pence. The president of the American Medical Association, the largest U.S. association of physicians, said the advice could accelerate the spread of the virus.

“Suggesting that people without symptoms, who have known exposure to COVID-positive individuals, do not need testing is a recipe for community spread and more spikes in coronavirus,” AMA President Susan Bailey said in a statement. Anthony Fauci, the top U.S. government infectious disease expert, told CNN he was having surgery during discussion of the change. “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. In fact it is,” he said.