What to Know
- The CDC reversed a controversial component of its testing guidance Friday that said asymptomatic people didn't need to get tested for coronavirus
- That change initially was posted quietly in August, igniting a firestorm from public health experts and government officials who accused the Trump administration of meddling in the process to lower the number of positives
- The CDC now says anyone who has been within 6 feet of a person with documented infection for at least 15 minutes should get a test
Gov. Andrew Cuomo ripped the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Friday for reversing controversial testing guidance that said asymptomatic people needn't get tested, tweeting, "That is not enough."
The announcement Friday essentially returned the CDC to its previous testing guidance and eradicated language the agency posted last month that said people who didn't feel sick didn't need tests. At the time, it was met with a firestorm.
Cuomo was at the forefront of that firestorm then and was again on Friday, as he demanded more accountability from the agency tasked with protecting U.S. lives from infectious diseases like the novel coronavirus.
"How do they compensate for the lives lost and the millions in expenses and who was responsible for distorting the truth and jeopardizing the health of millions of Americans?" Cuomo tweeted.
The New York governor first slammed "President Trump's" CDC when it put out the revised guidance in August, submitting that the only plausible rationale for it was to get fewer people to take tests to make it look like fewer confirmed cases.
"It is now known that this was yet another example of public health being subverted by the Trump White House, where from Day 1 politics & denial has come before science & facts," Cuomo tweeted.
The governor's anger joined a chorus 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 proven extraordinarily difficult to control.
Health officials were evasive about why they had made the change in August. Even then, the CDC still acknowledged up to 50 percent of COVID spread occurs before patients begin to experience symptoms, prompting some to believe the Trump administration had been behind the abrupt change.
At the time, Assistant Secretary for Health Adm. Brett Giroir, who leads the Trump administration’s testing effort, said the guidance was updated “to reflect current evidence and best public health practices."
The CDC now says anyone who has been within 6 feet of a person with documented infection for at least 15 minutes should get a test. The agency called the changes a “clarification” that was needed “due to the significance of asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic transmission.”
To date, New York has tested more per capita than anywhere else in the world, Cuomo has said. As of Friday, the state conducted more than 9.7 million tests.