CDC Reverses Advice That Riled Experts

Now, asymptomatic people who've been around someone with the virus 'need a test'
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 18, 2020 3:06 PM CDT
Updated Sep 18, 2020 3:25 PM CDT
CDC Backtracks on Controversial Testing Advice
Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, testifies at a Senate hearing Wednesday.   (Anna Moneymaker/New York Times, Pool via AP)

After health officials objected to changes in government guidance about whether people without coronavirus symptoms should be tested, the advice has been changed again. As of Friday, Politico reports, the CDC straightforwardly states that if you've spent at least 15 minutes within six feet of a person who has contracted the coronavirus, "you need a test." And that's regardless of whether you're showing symptoms. The reason is because of "the significance of asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic transmission," the agency said. The CDC website was revised Friday, per CNN. Previously, the site said that if you have no symptoms but have been around someone with the virus, "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."

Many scientists and doctors voiced objections with that earlier advice. On Thursday, CDC Director Robert Redfield defended the process for the advice that has now been taken down. "The guidelines, coordinated in conjunction with the White House Coronavirus Task Force, received appropriate attention, consultation and input from task force experts," he said. Still, the switch was endorsed Friday by other scientists. The president of the Infectious Diseases Society of America welcomed "the return to a science-based approach to testing guidance." (More CDC stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.