HEALTHCARE

CDC Defends Controversial New Assistance for Coronavirus Testing: ‘Everyone Who Wants a Test Does Not Always Need a Test’

KEY POINTS

· Earlier this week, the CDC quietly revised its guidance on coronavirus testing.

· The agency dropped its previous recommendation to test everyone who’s come into close contact with a person infected with Covid-19 — even those who don’t have symptoms.

· “Everyone who wants a test does not necessarily need a test,” CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield said in a statement late Wednesday.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is protecting its questionable brand-new assistance on coronavirus testing following an outcry from numerous medical groups and accusations of political intervention.

Previously this week, the CDC quietly modified its assistance on coronavirus screening, dropping its previous suggestion to check everybody who’s come into close contact with a person infected with Covid-19 — even those who do not have signs. The firm formerly encouraged screening everybody with a “recent understood or believed direct exposure” to the virus, saying it can be transmitted a few days prior to symptoms reveal in addition to by asymptomatic individuals who never ever establish them.

Medical groups and some lawmakers raised concerns about the brand-new guidance, saying that early and widespread screening of individuals without symptoms can assist contain the outbreak in the U.S.

The CDC, which referred calls to the Department of Health and Human being Solutions all the time Wednesday, safeguarded the change in a declaration from CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield released around 10 p.m. Wednesday.

“Everybody who needs a COVID-19 test can get a test. Everyone who wants a test does not always need a test; the key is to engage the required public health neighborhood in the choice with the appropriate follow-up action,” Redfield stated, including italics in the composed declaration for focus.

He included that “testing might be thought-about for all close contacts of validated or probable COVID-19 patients,” however stopped short of recommending it for those without signs. He said anybody who has been in contact with a confirmed or likely Covid-19 patient should seek advice from a health-care service provider to identify if a test is needed.

Redfield said that the brand-new guidelines were “coordinated in conjunction with the White House Coronavirus Task Force,” adding that they “got appropriate attention, consultation and input from task force experts.”

On a conference call with press reporters on Wednesday, Assistant Secretary for Health Adm. Brett Giroir, who leads the Trump administration’s screening effort, defended the policy change, stating it empowers regional health authorities and clinicians. He likewise rejected allegations of bowing to political pressure from the Trump administration.

“Let me tell you, right up front that the brand-new standards are a CDC action,” he stated, adding that members of the White Home coronavirus task force, consisting of Dr. Anthony Fauci and Redfield, gone over and agreed on the new standards.

But Fauci later told a chief medical reporter, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, that he “was under general anesthesia in the operating room and was not part of any conversation or consideration relating to the new screening recommendations.”

The New York Times reported later on Wednesday that two federal health authorities stated the CDC was pushed into changing the assistance from top officials at the White Home and HHS.

“There was no weight on the scales by the president or the vice president or Secretary Azar,” Giroir said on the call, referring to HHS Secretary Alex Azar. “We all signed off on it, the docs, prior to it ever got to a place where the political leadership would have even seen it, and this document was approved by the job force by agreement.”

It remains uncertain precisely where the brand-new assistance originated, though Giroir stated it was a “CDC action.” Despite who is accountable for the updated assistance, a former CDC director, epidemiologists, and medical associations have criticized the upgrade as a setback in efforts to battle the coronavirus in the U.S.

The Contagious Illness Society of America and the HIV Medicine Association required the “instant turnaround” of the upgrade in a joint statement.

“It is necessary that public health standards be rooted in the very best available clinical evidence,” the two groups said. “Checking asymptomatic people who have been exposed to a person with COVID-19 stays a vital evidence-based strategy for consisting of the pandemic and minimizing transmission.”

New York City Gov. Andrew Cuomo and California Gov. Gavin Newsom, both Democrats, stated their states will continue testing asymptomatic individuals.

“We’re not going to follow the CDC guidance. I consider it political propaganda. I would caution private companies against following the CDC assistance. I believe it is entirely indefensible on its face. I believe it is inherently self-contradictory. It is the precise reverse of what the CDC has been stating,” Cuomo stated on a teleconference with reporters Wednesday. “So either the CDC is schizophrenic or they are admitting error in their very first position or this is just political dictations.”

Cuomo pointed to comments formerly made by President Donald Trump in June in which he said “testing is a double-edged sword.” He added that he directed authorities to “slow the screening down, please.” White Home officials later stated the president had been “plainly speaking in jest.”

“The utter failure to develop a robust nationwide testing system is the extremely core of President Trump’s incompetence in handling the pandemic,” Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said in a declaration Wednesday. “He believes that by disregarding the fact of 180,000 deaths he can simply sweep COVID-19 under the carpet and nobody will discover his failures. But his denial just makes things even worse.”

The White Home did not react to a request to talk about Schumer’s remarks.

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