CDC Backtracks On Guidance About COVID-19 Testing For Asymptomatic People

The agency, which had faced criticism for its earlier guidance, said Friday that everyone who's had close contact with a coronavirus patient should get tested.

Backtracking on earlier guidance that had provoked widespread criticism, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now recommends that everyone who’s had close contact with a person infected with COVID-19 should get tested for the virus, including those who aren’t exhibiting any symptoms.

The CDC updated its testing guidelines on Friday ― a day after the publication of a scorching report by The New York Times that said the agency’s earlier guidance had not been written by CDC scientists and had been posted on the agency’s website despite their “serious objections.”

The earlier guidance had said people who’ve had close contact with a COVID-19 “do not necessarily need a test” if they are asymptomatic.

Public health experts had excoriated the recommendation.

“Suggesting that asymptomatic people don’t need testing is just a prescription for community spread and further disease and death,” Dr. Susan Bailey, president of the American Medical Association, told the Times.

In contrast to its earlier guidance, the CDC’s latest recommendation is unequivocal in its stance.

Even with no symptoms, “you need a test,” the agency’s website now reads, “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.”

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