Sunday, 09 May, 2021


CDC: Asymptomatic No Longer Need to Take COVID Test

2949734_web1_web-plane Tribune-Review
Bennie Garza | 30 August, 2020, 19:41

A majority of USA states have rejected new Trump administration COVID-19 testing guidance in an extraordinary rebuke of the nation's top agency for disease prevention, according to officials at state health agencies and public statements reviewed by Reuters. The World Health Organization (WHO) on Thursday said that resources permitting, people exposed to the novel coronavirus should be tested even if they do not show immediate symptoms of infection.

A more lax approach to testing, experts said, could delay crucial treatments, as well as obscure, or even hasten, the coronavirus's spread in the community.

Dr. Fred Davis, associate chair of emergency medicine at Northwell /Long Island Jewish, in NY, said: "While the CDC has recommended that those that might have been exposed to someone who tested [positive] for COVID but they themselves are asymptomatic might not need to be tested, there are delicate concerns".

Those who don't have Covid-19 symptoms and haven't been in close contact with someone with a known infection do not need a test, the updated guidelines say.

At a moment when experts have nearly universally come forward to encourage more frequent and widespread testing, especially to reach vulnerable and marginalized sectors of the population, the CDC's update appears counterintuitive and "very unusual", said Susan Butler-Wu, a clinical microbiologist at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California.

At that time, the CDC website stated, "Because of the potential for asymptomatic and presymptomatic transmission, it is important that contacts of individuals with SARS-CoV-2 infection be quickly identified and tested". The Florida Department of Health said asymptomatic testing was continuing while the new CDC recommendations were evaluated, and Texas also said it would evaluate. "Working with our health care professionals, we can continue to implement this Guidance and adapt it to the local situation as appropriate".

HHS has not specified what change in "current evidence" may have driven the change.

Prior iterations of the CDC's testing guidelines struck a markedly different tone, explicitly stating that "testing is recommended for all close contacts" of people infected with the coronavirus, regardless of symptoms.

"I hate to say this, but @CDCgov's new guidelines are wrong", tweeted Leana Wen, former health commissioner of Baltimore and a public health professor at George Washington University.

"Suboptimal testing capabilities for COVID-19 have been the single most important issue we have faced in dealing with COVID-19".

Dr. Carlos del Rio, infectious disease specialist and associate dean of Emory University School of Medicine, told CNN's Jim Sciutto on Wednesday that not testing may be OK in some circumstances - brief contact, for example. He never experienced symptoms, and his tests have all been negative, bringing him peace of mind, especially because he lives with his parents and grandfather. Cuomo said his state would not be following the guidance.

"I don't kid", he told reporters when asked about his line on slowing down testing. Many institutions and companies performing testing have prioritized people with symptoms in their lineup as a way to expedite the return of results for those most at risk for falling severely ill. "We need to focus on testing the right individuals, we need to focus on maximizing the testing in the clusters, and we need to focus on the quality of the testing, and the speed of the turnaround".

In the HHS email, agency officials said that is not the reason, and argued that testing capacity is plentiful. That role is vital to our collective public health and it must continue.

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