The sudden change in the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's coronavirus testing guidelines came in response to pressure from the Trump Administration, CNN reports.
"It's coming from the top down," an anonymous official tells CNN. CNN notes that President Donald Trump has called for less testing.
On Monday, the CDC updated its SARS-CoV-2 testing guidelines to only recommend testing symptomatic individuals. Individuals who have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 and are not symptomatic are not recommended for testing unless they are at high risk, or if state guidelines or their doctor recommend it.
This change was widely criticized, the Washington Post reports. "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," Susan Bailey, president of the American Medical Association, tells it.
According to the Post, Brett Giroir, an assistant Health and Human Services secretary, says the idea to change the guidance came from him and CDC Director Robert Redfield — and not from administration higher-ups — and was signed off by the White House Coronavirus Task Force. Task force member Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, tells CNN he was undergoing surgery at the time of the meeting.
"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 tells CNN.