Last month, on August 24, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated its COVID-19 testing guidelines, which said that being exposed to a person with the infection did not necessarily warrant a test for those who are at low-risk and asymptomatic people or those without symptoms.
However, in the latest update, the CDC reversed the controversial guidelines posted on its website last month due to objections from scientists, the report says.
According to the CDC, those in close contacts of a person with COVID-19 should be tested because it can be transmitted even without showing any symptoms.
CDC Reversal of Its Controversial Testing Guidelines
According to the reversed CDC COVID-19 testing guideline, those in close contact with an infected person within 6 feet (1.8 meters) for at least 15 minutes and without any symptoms must be tested for the infection.
Despite the controversial reversal, the science of asymptomatic and presymptomatic patients remains the same. That is, COVID-infected people who do not show any symptoms can transmit the virus. That is why last month's new guidelines of the CDC was met with strong criticisms and controversies from public health experts.
Moreover, President Donald Trump's previous statement that lesser testing would lead to fewer cases of COVID-19 made some health experts think that the guidelines last month was made for political purposes rather than based on scientific research.
Krys Johnson, an assistant professor of instruction in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at Temple University in Pennsylvania, said that it is unethical for health recommendations that are supposed to follow only science are being modified to enable underreporting of COVID-19 cases at this critical time.
It is not yet clear what percentage of COVID-19 cases are asymptomatic, but the CDC estimates that it is about 40 percent of people who do not show any signs and symptoms of the infection.
Johnson said that if these asymptomatic patients would go on and live their daily lives, the country will be significantly affected and the daily lives of the people for the foreseeable future regardless of the advent of a vaccine.
The Department of Health and Human Services Assistant Secretary Adm. Brett Giroir defended the updated guidelines of CDC last month when it was released saying that the ai was not to do "less" testing but rather to do more "appropriate" testing.
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Change Is a Clarification
A report from the New York Times on September 18 alleged that the update on testing guidelines last month was written by the Department of Health and Human Services. This claim was based on internal documents and accounts of people familiar with the subject.
The updated guidelines last month on CDC's website was made despite the strong opposition from the CDC scientists. Today, the CDC said that the change or reversal that happened was a "clarification."
The clarification specified that asymptomatic people who have had close contact with COVID-19 positive individuals need to be tested because of many of the positive cases of COVID-19were driven by people who do not show symptoms.
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