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US now says asymptomatic people don’t need virus test after exposure

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Aug 27, 2020 - 07:04 AM

WASHINGTON — After previously encouraging people without Covid-19 symptoms to get tested if they have been exposed to someone diagnosed with the virus, US health authorities have abruptly reversed their position without a clear explanation.

The changes in guidance were quietly made to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website on Monday amid US media reports of political interference from the White House.

President Donald Trump has repeatedly said that the US should do less testing, and blamed testing for making it appear as though the country is doing poorly against the pandemic.

This is not true: though the US is testing at a high level, that is because its outbreak is worse than any other country in the world, with more than 5.8 million confirmed cases and almost 180,000 deaths.

The CDC’s site previously said: “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 site now says: “If you have been in close contact (within 6 feet) of a person with a COVID-19 infection for at least 15 minutes but do not have symptoms, you do not necessarily need a test unless you are a vulnerable individual or your health care provider or State or local public health officials recommend you take one.”

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