After months of dealing with the novel and fast-spreading coronavirus pandemic and the near-constant push for increased testing throughout the country, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or CDC has just changed their national guidelines to say that asymptomatic people don’t really need to be tested.
No, I’m not kidding.
According to a new and revised set of guidelines that was posted by the federal agency on Monday, “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.”
Note that this description is next to a label that reads, “If you have been in close contact (within 6 feet) of a person with a COVID-19 infection for at least 15 minutes but do not have symptoms.”
Now, if you are anything like me, you are thinking, ‘What? That doesn’t make any sense. Why would you want to limit testing on anyone, let alone those who have been exposed to the virus but don’t likely even know they have it?’
After all, the World Health Organization or WHO’s claim in June that asymptomatic patients spreading the disease are “very rare” has already been debunked and renounced. In fact, Dr. Anthony Fauci, while controversial on some issues, did wisely describe this belief has wholly “not correct.”
And since that time, health agencies both on the state and federal levels have worked hard to promote the idea that more testing is desperately needed if we are to beat this disease. It is why the CDC in mid-July updated their guidelines to say “recommended testing for asymptomatic individuals with known or suspected exposure to SARS-CoV-2 to control transmission” was needed. The agency even expounded on this to say just below it, “Testing is recommended for all close contacts of a person with SARS-CoV-2. Because of the potential for asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic transmission, if it is important that contacts of individuals with SARS-CoV-2 infection be quickly identified and tested.”
And now they are directly reversing that?
Doctors and medical health experts are just as perplexed.
Dr. Leana Wen tweeted, “(CDC) suddenly changed their criteria for #covid19 testing so that someone exposed to an infected person no longer needs testing. This makes no sense. People without symptoms account for up to 50% of transmission. We need MORE testing, not less.”
Dr. Ravina Kullar, an infectious disease expert in California, spoke with Fox News and told them, “The updated recommendations by the CDC stating that asymptomatic people may not need to be tested even if they have been in close contact with someone known to have the virus are very troubling as this is the exact population that should be tested. An individual has a high probability of getting the virus from close contact with someone that has had the virus; why would he/she not be recommended to get tested?”
When asked about the sudden and rather disturbing change by both Fox News and the New York Times, the CDC referred them to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Once in contact with them, the assistant secretary for health or ASH of the HHS Adm. Brett P. Giroir, M.D., said, “This Guidance has been updated to reflect current and best public health practices, and to further emphasize using CDC-approved prevention strategies to protect yourself, your family, and the most vulnerable of all ages.”
Giroir explained that the agency would like to see an “emphasis” placed on testing those who have severe symptoms, who pose a significant threat, or vulnerable populations, such as those working in healthcare or nursing homes.
Some would say this indicates a shortage of either tests or time (maybe both) or that labs are so backed up and overwhelmed that staff prioritizes those seen as most likely to have the virus over those who seem healthy. However, when asked this, the HHS noted that while staff in some facilities are no doubt overwhelmed, allowing less time available, there are currently no shortages in the testing supply chain.
Another conclusion for the change is that it was made for political reasons, as there is an election about to take place, and to make the country appear to be in better health as far as testing goes would seem to benefit President Trump. Then again, I can’t imagine someone who has worked tirelessly to help out the everyday American suddenly saying he didn’t care. Plus, he has to know that if he did, it would just be another feather in the Left’s cap to bring him down.