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Doctor blasts CDC after the agency updated its coronavirus testing guidelines

Published Aug 27th, 2020 2:49PM EDT
Coronavirus Update CDC
Image: kerkezz/Adobe

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  • The CDC this week updated its coronavirus testing guidelines to state that asymptomatic individuals do not need to get tested even if they’ve been close to people who have the coronavirus.
  • The CDC’s revised guidelines reportedly came after pressure was applied from the Trump administration.
  • Dr. Kavita Patel recently appeared on MSNBC and blasted the CDC’s decision.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) this week generated an avalanche of controversy when it released new coronavirus testing guidelines. As part of the new framework, the CDC is no longer encouraging asymptomatic individuals to get tested, even if they happened to be in close proximity to someone with a positive coronavirus diagnosis. Before the change, the CDC recommended COVID-19 testing was appropriate for “asymptomatic individuals with recent known or suspected exposure” to the coronavirus.

The CDC’s about-face predictably generated no shortage of outrage from doctors and other medical professionals.

The CDC has strongly defended its position, with CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield issuing the following statement yesterday:

Testing is meant to drive actions and achieve specific public health objectives. Everyone who needs a Covid-19 test, can get a test. Everyone who wants a test does not necessarily need a test; the key is to engage the needed public health community in the decision with the appropriate follow-up action.

Notably, MSNBC has reported that the new guidelines were implemented in response to pressure from the Trump administration.

Underscoring the frustration many doctors have with the new guidelines, Dr. Kavita Patel — who is an MSNBC contributor — said the following during an on-air interview:

Look, I try not to be salacious or emotional about this.

So, just briefly, as a reminder, the CDC just did a statement. If you are asymptomatic, in contact, close contact, with someone with COVID, you don’t need testing. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that will make numbers lower, decrease daily count of the coronavirus. So, you’re absolutely right. And in a press briefing today, we heard the CDC’s recommendations were heavily edited, heavily edited by Dr. Scott Atlas, Dr. Fauci and Dr. Birx, amongst others. That’s unacceptable. Every American should be dramatically concerned about who has their best health and interests at heart.

We’re all kind of mystified by it. So, it’s definitely something we’re all concerned about. I would say more than that. I do feel like the American public needs to ask questions. Ask what the data shows. Ask about what the data shows for a vaccine, and be inquisitive. This is the time to ask questions and demand transparency.

While it’s one thing for the CDC to revise its testing guidelines in the wake of new scientific evidence, doing so in response to pressure from the Trump administration is certainly a cause for concern.

With the United States still struggling to get a handle on the coronavirus, conflicting information from the CDC and medical professionals is clearly not helpful to anyone. If anything, the constant incongruency we often see in the U.S. response to the coronavirus creates an environment where people tend to not take anything seriously.

Yoni Heisler Contributing Writer

Yoni Heisler has been writing about Apple and the tech industry at large with over 15 years of experience. A life long expert Mac user and Apple expert, his writing has appeared in Edible Apple, Network World, MacLife, Macworld UK, and TUAW.

When not analyzing the latest happenings with Apple, Yoni enjoys catching Improv shows in Chicago, playing soccer, and cultivating new TV show addictions.