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CDC reverses controversial advice about who should be tested for novel coronavirus

Those who've been in close contact with infected people should get tested
CDC drops controversial testing advice that caused backlash
Posted at 2:08 PM, Sep 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-18 14:28:45-04

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. health officials are dropping a controversial piece of coronavirus guidance and telling all those who have been in close contact with infected people to get tested.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) essentially returned to its previous guidance about such tests.

"Due to the significance of asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic transmission, this guidance further reinforces the need to test asymptomatic persons, including close contacts of a person with documented SARS-CoV-2 infection," the CDC wrote in a "clarification" posted Friday.

With the change, the CDC got rid of language posted last month that said people who didn’t feel sick didn’t need to get tested.

That August change 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 a pandemic that has been difficult to control.

The New York Times reports that last month's change was not actually written by CDC scientists and was posted to the agency’s website despite their serious objections. It reportedly came from the Department of Health and Human Services.

The CDC website now says 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," the agency writes.