In a mindboggling and dangerous move, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention this week quietly reversed its recommendation on COVID-19 testing for those exposed to the virus. Now, the CDC says that exposed but symptomless people do not need to be tested.
The change immediately alarmed and outraged public health and infectious disease experts. It is well established that SARS-CoV-2—the pandemic coronavirus that causes the disease COVID-19—can cause completely asymptomatic infections in some and spread from other infected people before they develop symptoms (so-called "pre-symptomatic transmission"). In fact, some modeling studies have suggested that pre-symptomatic transmission may account for nearly half, or even more, of SARS-CoV-2 spread.
That information previously spurred the CDC to recommend testing for anyone that was known to have—or even suspected to have—close contact with an infected person (that is, be within six feet for 15 or more minutes).
“Testing is recommended for all close contacts of persons with SARS-CoV-2 infection,” the agency said on its website as recently as August 22. “Because of the potential for asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic transmission, it is important that contacts of individuals with SARS-CoV-2 infection be quickly identified and tested.”
But that evidence-based recommendation has vanished. In its place, the agency now says that exposed or potentially exposed people “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.”
When Ars reached out to the CDC to ask why the recommendation was changed and what evidence supported the new recommendation, the agency told Ars to direct questions to the Department of Health and Human Services. It noted that HHS intends to hold a press conference at 2pm ET today on testing. We will update this post with any pertinent information from that conference.
As the countrys premier public health agency and one that intended to independently make critical health recommendation for Americans, the CDCs deferral to the HHS raises even more questions about its change to testing recommendations. Amid the pandemic, the Trump Administration has repeatedly Read More – Source