HEAT ALERT

Dangerous heat continues today in New Jersey for the first day of summer

CDC drops controversial testing advice that caused backlash

U.S. health officials on Friday dropped a controversial piece of coronavirus guidance and said anyone who has been in close contact with an infected person should get tested.

News 12 Staff

Sep 18, 2020, 10:17 PM

Updated 1,370 days ago

Share:

U.S. health officials on Friday dropped a controversial piece of coronavirus guidance and said anyone who has been in close contact with an infected person should get tested.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention essentially returned to its previous testing guidance, getting rid of language posted last month that said people didn’t need to get tested if they didn't feel sick. That change had set off a rash of criticism from health experts who couldn't fathom why the nation's top public health agency would say such a thing amid the pandemic.
It was "not consistent with the basic principles of controlling an epidemic,”said Dr. Silvia Chiang, a pediatric infectious diseases expert at Brown University who applauded the change announced Friday.
The CDC now says anyone who has been within 6 feet of an infected person for at least 15 minutes should get a test. In a statement, the agency called the changes a “clarification” that was needed “due to the significance of asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic transmission.”
Agency officials declined additional comment.
Health officials were evasive about why they had made the change in August, and some outside observers speculated it was forced on the CDC by political appointees within the Trump administration.
At the time, administration officials said the language originated at the CDC but the decision came out of meetings of the White House coronavirus task force. Dr. Brett Giroir, an assistant secretary at the Department of Health and Human Services, said many federal leaders outside the agency were involved in “lots of editing, lots of input.” He said it was difficult to attribute the final language to any one source.
The New York Times, citing internal federal documents and unnamed sources, on Thursday reported that the guidance was placed on the CDC’s website over the objections of agency scientists.
Public health experts have noted that testing the contacts of infected people is a core element of efforts to keep outbreaks in check, and that a large percentage of those infected with the coronavirus exhibit no COVID-19 symptoms.
The CDC’s chief, Dr. Robert Redfield, issued a statement shortly after the controversy erupted that did little to clarify why the change was deemed necessary. The main intent seemed to be to assure state health officials that they could continue to recommend that all close contacts be tested if they felt that was wisest, despite the website language that said it was not necessary.
During a U.S. Senate hearing on Wednesday, Redfield continued to defend the language that was dropped Friday. He said the August changes had been “misinterpreted” and were part of an effort to increase engagement by doctors and local health officials in the handling of potential illness clusters.
By MIKE STOBBE
AP Medical Writer
___
The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.
(Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.)


More from News 12
1:27
HEAT ALERT: Sweltering heat, humidity continues today for 1st day of summer; tracking thundershowers for Friday

HEAT ALERT: Sweltering heat, humidity continues today for 1st day of summer; tracking thundershowers for Friday

0:49
‘Completely unacceptable.’ Gov. Murphy says NJ Transit, Amtrak investigation is underway

‘Completely unacceptable.’ Gov. Murphy says NJ Transit, Amtrak investigation is underway

2:15
Best Beaches: Checking out the ocean beaches at Brick Township

Best Beaches: Checking out the ocean beaches at Brick Township

0:29
Drivers should expect delays on part of Oak Tree Road in Edison during water main repairs

Drivers should expect delays on part of Oak Tree Road in Edison during water main repairs

1:28
George Norcross' longtime lawyer called to step down from Rutgers Board of Governors

George Norcross' longtime lawyer called to step down from Rutgers Board of Governors

0:21
Illegal nightclub crackdown in Paterson nets 78 arrests

Illegal nightclub crackdown in Paterson nets 78 arrests

0:20
Historic Battleship New Jersey returns to Camden waterfront today following weeks of repairs

Historic Battleship New Jersey returns to Camden waterfront today following weeks of repairs

2:18
2 beaches close due to over-capacity amid record-breaking season of beach badge sales

2 beaches close due to over-capacity amid record-breaking season of beach badge sales

2:12
Scorching temperatures won’t stop NJ residents from enjoying themselves outside

Scorching temperatures won’t stop NJ residents from enjoying themselves outside

0:26
 Boil water advisory issued for parts of Clifton and Paterson due to water main break

Boil water advisory issued for parts of Clifton and Paterson due to water main break

1:09
The East End: Goat yoga at Corwith Farm in Water Mill

The East End: Goat yoga at Corwith Farm in Water Mill

0:47
Jersey Proud: 4 Byram Intermediate School students place wreath on Tomb of Unknown Soldier

Jersey Proud: 4 Byram Intermediate School students place wreath on Tomb of Unknown Soldier

0:56
Independent investigation finds no malice intended regarding East Brunswick HS yearbook photo controversy

Independent investigation finds no malice intended regarding East Brunswick HS yearbook photo controversy

2:46
‘People have worked so hard.’ Woman who helped make Juneteenth a national holiday visits New Jersey

‘People have worked so hard.’ Woman who helped make Juneteenth a national holiday visits New Jersey

0:23
Prosecutor: PA man killed in crash on Route 31 in Clinton Township

Prosecutor: PA man killed in crash on Route 31 in Clinton Township

2:38
Gov. Murphy announces clemency program to let some offenders seek early release from prison

Gov. Murphy announces clemency program to let some offenders seek early release from prison

0:40
Hundreds attend Juneteenth celebration at Liberty State Park

Hundreds attend Juneteenth celebration at Liberty State Park

1:54
Historic Glimmer Glass Bridge closed between Brielle and Manasquan until July 1 for safety repairs

Historic Glimmer Glass Bridge closed between Brielle and Manasquan until July 1 for safety repairs

Devils acquire goalie Jacob Markstrom from the Calgary Flames

Devils acquire goalie Jacob Markstrom from the Calgary Flames

0:19
Denville imposes outdoor water restrictions until June 30

Denville imposes outdoor water restrictions until June 30