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Report: Controversial CDC Change Didn't Come From CDC

'That was a doc that came from the top down'
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 18, 2020 9:06 AM CDT

(Newser) – A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention change to COVID testing guidelines that caused consternation last month wasn't the work of CDC scientists and was "dropped" into the agency's website despite their objections, sources tell the New York Times. The controversial guidance, which stated that people without symptoms shouldn't get tested even if they had been exposed, was later revised after criticism from health experts. "That was a doc that came from the top down," from the Department of Health and Human Services and the White House Coronavirus Task Force, a federal official tells the Times. “That policy does not reflect what many people at the CDC feel should be the policy.”

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A senior CDC scientist tells the Times that the document didn't go through the CDC's strict review process and contained "elementary errors" and recommendations that didn't jibe with the CDC's position, making it clear the final result didn't come from the agency. Adm. Brett Giroir at HHS says the original draft came from the CDC, but there was "coordinated editing and input from the scientific and medical members of the task force." According to an email seen by the Times, a senior CDC official told scientists alarmed by the final document that the agency doesn't "have the ability to make substantial edits." When the guidance first appeared on the CDC website, top Democrats called it "dangerous and irresponsible" and said reports of political interference were "troubling," the Washington Post reports. (Read more Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stories.)

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