CDC’s Redfield addresses testing guidance amid criticism

Aug. 28, 2020

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Robert Redfield, MD, addressed new guidance on the CDC’s website that suggests that asymptomatic contacts of COVID-19 cases may not need to be tested for the virus, according to a news report from the Center for Infectious Disease Policy and Research (CIDRAP).

Citing the New York Times, CIDRAP reported that Redfield issued a statement that "testing may be considered for all close contacts of confirmed or probable COVID-19 patients," but the CDC is "placing an emphasis on testing individuals with symptomatic illness, individuals with a significant exposure, vulnerable populations including nursing homes or long term care facilities, critical infrastructure workers, healthcare workers and first responders, or those individuals who may be asymptomatic when prioritized by medical and public health officials."

Admiral Brett Giroir, MD, the US testing czar, said that he and Redfield—not the White House—changed the guidance and that it was meant to prevent people with negative test results from having a false sense of security.

Following the CDC's change to recommendations earlier this week, three Democratic governors (Andrew Cuomo of New York, Jay Inslee of Washington, and Gavin Newsom of California) said they would not follow the guidelines and still recommend testing for all case contacts.

The Infectious Diseases Society of America and the HIV Medicine Association and the American Medical Association (AMA) also released statements on the CDC guidelines, criticizing the change.

Visit CIDRAP for more news