“From the top down”

In a dramatic shift that perplexed experts and doctors, the CDC changed its Covid-19 testing guidelines.  Now people without symptoms need not be tested. Even if they’ve been in close contact with the virus. A senior health official told CNN the sudden change was the result of pressure from the Trump administration. The senior official said, “It’s coming from the top down.”

The Trump Administration pressured the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to change the coronavirus testing guidelines to exclude asymptomatic people even if they have been recently exposed to the virus according to two federal health officials. Incredible. Previously, the CDC said viral testing was appropriate for people with recent or suspected exposure, even if they were asymptomatic.

Here’s what the CDC website said previously: “Testing is recommended for all close contacts of persons with SARS-CoV-2 infection. Because of the potential for asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic transmission, it is important that contacts of individuals with SARS-CoV-2 infection be quickly identified and tested.”

Here’s what it says now: “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.”
Doctors were puzzled by the change and questioned why the CDC did not explain why it made the update.  HHS has not specified what change in “current evidence” may have driven the change.