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CDC guidance on testing stirs confusion, criticism

Video Credit: Reuters - Politics - Duration: 02:17s - Published
CDC guidance on testing stirs confusion, criticism

CDC guidance on testing stirs confusion, criticism

The U.S. 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.

Colette Luke has more.

In a stunning reversal, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention this week said that people exposed to COVID-19 but not symptomatic may not need to be tested, in a move that confused doctors and sparked widespread criticism.

(Dr. Caitlin Eccles-Radtke:) " ...a lot of us are surprised, it just sort of happened and came out of the blue." Catlin Eccles-Radtke sets testing criteria at Hennepin Healthcare in Minnesota.

" ...With Covid, people can be positive and contagious without having symptoms, so the recommendation to only test people with symptoms seems like we would be missing a lot of people potentially." The president of the American Medical Association Susan Bailey warned that the advice could accelerate the spread of the virus and former CDC head Dr. Tom Frieden called it "indefensible" in a tweet.

Late Wednesday, CDC Director Robert Redfield appeared to scale back the agency’s recommendation in a statement saying, “testing may be considered for all close contacts of confirmed or probable Covid-19 patients.” But the new advice was not removed from the CDC website..

Which still says, “If you have been in close contact (within 6 feet) of a person with a COVID-19 infection for at least 15 minutes but do not have symptoms - You do not necessarily need a test.” Admiral Brett Giroir, the assistant secretary for health at the Department of Health and Human Services, backed up the new recommendation, saying the goal was "appropriate testing," not more testing for its own sake.

He added there was no political pressure from the administration behind the decision after reports that public health officials were ordered by high-level members of the Trump administration to push forward with the changes.

Top U.S. infectious diseases expert Anthony Fauci told CNN he was having surgery during the change and was worried about the new messaging.

"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.




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