The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention abruptly changed its Covid-19 testing guidelines. Now, the center no longer recommends testing for most people without symptoms — even if they’ve been in close contact with someone known to have the virus.
Here’s what we know so far about these new guidelines:
- About the change: The CDC changed its site on Monday. Previously, it said “Testing is recommended for all close contacts of persons with SARS-CoV-2 infection.” But now, it says, “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, you do not necessarily need a test.”
- Some experts are baffled: Dr. Leana Wen, an emergency physician and public health professor at George Washington University who was previously Baltimore’s health commissioner, said the testing guideline changes make no sense. “These are exactly the people who should be tested,” Wen said.
- Pressure from the White House: A senior federal health official close to the process tells CNN the sudden change in CDC Covid-19 testing guidance was the result of pressure from the Trump administration. When asked by CNN whether the CDC was responding to pressure from the White House and the Department of Health and Human Services, the senior official said, “It’s coming from the top down.”