Talk about sneaky. While White House Coronavirus Task Force member Dr. Anthony Fauci was undergoing surgery, the CDC updated guidelines that suggest asymptomatic people may not need to be tested for COVID-19 even if they’ve been in close contact with an infected person.
“I was under general anesthesia in the operating room and was not part of any discussion or deliberation regarding the new testing recommendations” at that meeting, Fauci told CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta.
“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.”
Asked whether Fauci signed off on the new guidelines, the Trump administration’s coronavirus testing point person Adm. Brett Giroir said, “Yes, all the docs signed off on this before it even got to the task force level.”
“We worked on this all together to make sure that there was absolute consensus that reflected the best possible evidence, and the best public health for the American people.”
Giroir also pushed back on the suggestion that the new guidelines occurred due to political pressure.
It’s great that the CDC and the FDA do whatever Trump says, I feel so reassured now. 😳😬🥴— Janine Dupras 🏳️🌈 🤦♀️😷🥴🤬🍷 (@DuprasJanine) August 26, 2020
What caused the change in the new CDC guidelines?
Apparently, about a month earlier, CDC director Robert Redfield and other members were looking for a way to communicate that excess testing needed to be dialed back. Rather than continue to tell people to get tested if they had been in close contact with a COVID-19 positive person, Redfield said that the CDC could relax this guideline. However, experts are concerned that asymptomatic people will not get tested and the pandemic could potentially continue unchecked.
Many federal officials were left trying to figure out exactly what the new guidelines could mean in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic. President Trump has said over and over again (falsely) that testing is responsible for upticks in cases and that the U.S. should slow down testing.