From the start of the pandemic, people have been previously encouraged to get tested for coronavirus if they were exposed to the virus but did not show any visible symptoms. Now, however, US health authorities have changed their stance on the issue without providing an understandable explanation.
The changes in question were made to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) rather quietly.
These changes came just as rumors of interference from the government started to air. President Donald Trump has often remarked that what the country needs is to reduce its rate of testing. He appears to believe the reason the country was suffering horribly from the pandemic was sole that the rate of testing was making it appear like it was.
This however isn’t the truth. Even though the US has a high rate of testing around the globe it is only because the intensity of the outbreak in the country is higher than any other part of the world. Their statistics show above 5.8 million positive cases and about 180,000 deaths due to coronavirus, their case is a serious one.
Previously on the CDC’s website, it was listed that they recommend people get themselves tested if they are on a close contact list with someone who has tested positive for the virus. This was so because as soon as those who are asymptomatic are identified, the sooner the outbreak can be contained.
Now the website states a different statement: “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 unless you are a vulnerable individual or your health care provider or state or local public health officials recommend you take one.”
Health department official Brett Giroir says the latest guidelines were brought about on the foundation of considerable time, advice, and input from the experts on the coronavirus Task Force.
Giroir however did not state which specific evidence led to the formation of the guidance. He did however note that the documents were also seen by the nation’s top infectious diseases expert Anthony Fauci who leads the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases.
Fauci however denied ever seeing the new recommendations for testing. He worries that people may misinterpret the recommendations and will assume that asymptomatic people have nothing to worry about when in fact there is every reason to since they can continue the spread unknowingly.
Previously the agency has provided information saying about 40-50 percent of the population is actually among the asymptomatic carriers of the coronavirus and must be tested to stop the spread.
Fauci was not the only one to respond with worry; several health experts also felt dismayed at the change and its implications on the population.
Leana Wen is a professor at George Washington University and is also a Former Health commissioner of Baltimore. She tweeted saying “I still can’t make sense of @CDCgov change in guidance,”
She explains that those who have been exposed to the coronavirus need to be aware of what they should be doing to protect members of their family as well as the public which might be susceptible to the virus. She questions whether this change has taken place because the country does not have enough tests.