The US Centers for Disease Control have ditched a recent recommendation that seemingly healthy people shouldn’t be tested for Covid-19, reverting to previous guidance that advised testing asymptomatic people exposed to the virus.
The agency reversed course for the second time in two months on Friday, resuming their previous line that even individuals who feel healthy should get tested if they’d been within six feet of a Covid-19-positive person for more than 15 minutes.
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The surprise reversal follows the sudden but temporary departure of Department of Health and Human Services spokesman Michael Caputo after a bizarre livestream in which he accused “seditious” CDC personnel of running an “anti-Trump resistance unit.” Caputo is now on what has been described as a 60-day medical leave.
The CDC had ruffled more than a few feathers when it declared late last month that those without symptoms of Covid-19 did not need to be tested for the virus unless they were a “vulnerable individual” or their healthcare professional recommended it. While the agency had argued individuals who’d been within six feet of a “case” for over 15 minutes “did not necessarily need a test,” it did acknowledge asymptomatic people could spread the virus.
The CDC also clarified its intention with last month’s reversal was to emphasize the need to test symptomatic cases and vulnerable populations, as well as frontline workers and those “prioritized by public health officials.”
That guidance nevertheless outraged New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and a handful of other state leaders, who promised to ignore it and continue testing for all close contacts of confirmed cases. Even self-styled coronavirus clairvoyant Bill Gates suggested in the wake of the agency’s August guidance that Americans put their faith in private pharmaceutical companies instead. However, the advice did dovetail with a similarly short-lived recommendation from the World Health Organization, which claimed for a few days that asymptomatic “infections” were not contagious – before they too walked back that guidance.
While the New York Times and other outlets have quietly admitted that 90 percent of the “cases” who tested positive under the “gold standard” PCR method had so little virus they couldn’t possibly spread it to others or experience symptoms themselves, no audit in case numbers has been performed to remove those phantom cases from the total.
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Despite its previous reversal coming less than a month ago, Cuomo tore into the CDC on Friday after it reversed its guidance yet again, declaring it was “not enough.”
“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?” the governor raged. He clarified via tweet that it was “yet another example of public health being subverted by the Trump White House.”
Meanwhile, Covid-19 deaths have fallen dramatically in his state, where the infection rate remains below one percent, and cases dropped across the US last month along with hospitalization rates.
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