CDC Reverses Course Again On Testing Asymptomatic People For COVID-19


On Friday (September 18), the Centers for Disease Control and Preventions updated its coronavirus testing guidelines to say that asymptomatic people who have come in close contact with a person who has COVID-19 should get tested.

The updated CDC guidelines now state that "if you have been in close contact, such as within 6 feet of a person with documented SARS-CoV-2 infection for at least 15 minutes and do not have symptoms, you need a test."

"Due to the significance of asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic transmission, this guidance further reinforces the need to test asymptomatic persons, including close contacts of a person with documented SARS-CoV-2 infection," the CDC wrote.

The agency came under fire from public health officials after it recommended that asymptomatic individuals did not need to get tested for the virus in an update last month. According to a recent report in the New York Times, that earlier change was made by officials with the Department of Health and Human Services without approval from public health experts at the CDC.

"That was a doc that came from the top-down, from the HHS and the task force," a federal official with knowledge of the matter, referring to the White House task force on the coronavirus. "That policy does not reflect what many people at the CDC feel should be the policy."

The CDC pushed back against the report, saying the August updates were made in "conjunction with the White House Coronavirus Task Force."

CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield told CNN, "The guidelines, coordinated in conjunction with the White House Coronavirus Task Force, received appropriate attention, consultation and input from task force experts."

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