AMA calls change a ’recipe for community spread’

The CDC has changed its Covid-19 testing guidelines per recommendations from the White House Coronavirus Task Force. The guidelines now indicate that if a person does not have symptoms and has not been within close contact with someone known to have the virus, a test is not needed.

In most of the bulleted points of the CDC’s updated guidance, the first bullet is that a test is not needed, even for those who have been exposed but do not have symptoms.

Anthony Fauci, MD, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), who is a member of the task force, told CNN that this change is concerning, and that he was not part of the discussion to update the guidelines.

“I was under general anesthesia in the operating room and was not part of any discussion or deliberation regarding the new testing recommendations,” Fauci told CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta. “I am concerned about the interpretation of these recommendations and worried it will give people the incorrect assumption that asymptomatic spread is not of great concern. In fact, it is,” Fauci added.

HHS Assistant Secretary Brett Giroir said in a statement, also reported by CNN, that the new guidance was “updated to reflect current evidence and best public health practices.” He did not cite what evidence drove the new recommendations, but an official “close to the process” told CNN that the decision is “coming from the top down.”

The AMA was swift to condemn the move.

“Months into this pandemic, we know Covid-19 is spread by asymptomatic people,” Susan R. Bailey, MD, President of the physician’s organization, said in a statement. “Suggesting that people without symptoms, who have known exposure to Covid-positive individuals, do not need testing is a recipe for community spread and more spikes in coronavirus. When the CDC updates a guidance, the agency should provide a rationale for the change. We urge CDC and the Department of Health and Human Services to release the scientific justification for this change in testing guidelines.”

President Donald Trump said during a June campaign rally in Tulsa that he asked for coronavirus testing to be slowed down. While White House officials said the president was joking, the president said he was not, but did clarify that he did not directly order a slow down.

Nonetheless, he did say in the same interview, reported by CNN, that his comment in Tulsa was “semi-tongue in cheek” and asserted that “when you do more testing, you find more cases. We have kids with sniffles, and all of the sudden we report a case and they’re in no danger whatsoever.”

Candace Hoffmann, Managing Editor, BreakingMED™

Cat ID: 190

Topic ID: 79,190,730,933,190,926,192,927,151,928,925,934