CDC makes ‘potentially dangerous’ guidelines change for people exposed to coronavirus

By | August 26, 2020

The New York Times reports:

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention quietly modified its coronavirus testing guidelines this week to exclude people who do not have symptoms of Covid-19 — even if they have been recently exposed to the virus.

Experts questioned the revision, pointing to the importance of identifying infections in the small window immediately before the onset of symptoms, when many individuals appear to be most contagious.

Models suggest that about half of transmission events can be traced back to individuals still in this so-called pre-symptomatic stage, before they start to feel ill — if they ever feel sick at all.

“This is potentially dangerous,” said Dr. Krutika Kuppalli, an infectious disease physician in Palo Alto, Calif. Restricting testing to only people with obvious symptoms of Covid-19 means “you’re not looking for a lot of people who are potential spreaders of disease,” she added. “I feel like this is going to make things worse.”

At a moment when experts have almost universally come forward to encourage more frequent and widespread testing, especially to reach vulnerable and marginalized sectors of the population, the C.D.C.’s update appears counterintuitive and “very strange,” said Susan Butler-Wu, a clinical microbiologist at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California. [Continue reading…]

CNN reports:

A sudden change in federal guidelines on coronavirus testing came this week as a result of pressure from the upper ranks of the Trump administration, a federal health official close to the process tells CNN, and a key White House coronavirus task force member was not part of the meeting when the new guidelines were discussed.

“It’s coming from the top down,” the official said of the new directive from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

White House coronavirus task force member Dr. Anthony Fauci said he was in surgery and not part of the discussion during the August 20 task force meeting when updated guidelines were discussed. [Continue reading…]

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