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AAMC, Public Health Groups Urge Reversal of CDC Testing Guideline Changes

September 11, 2020

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CONTACTS
Christa Wagner, Senior Legislative Analyst

The AAMC joined over 225 patient, scientific, public health, and health care organizations in a Sept. 3 letter to Vice President Mike Pence expressing “serious concerns” with changes to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines for COVID-19 testing.

The CDC amended guidelines for SARS-CoV-2 testing on Aug. 24 to recommend that individuals who have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 do not necessarily need to be tested unless they show symptoms of the disease.

In an Aug. 26 statement to news outlets, CDC Director Robert Redfield, MD, responded to feedback from the changed guidelines. “Everyone who needs a COVID-19 test, can get a test. Everyone who wants a test does not necessarily need a test,” he said.

The community letter maintains that the changes diminish the importance of testing asymptomatic individuals with known COVID-19 exposure. “We believe the revision does not reflect the best available science and the best interest of the public’s health and has resulted in confusion among public health and medical professionals and the public,” the community letter stated.

The AAMC released a separate press statement on Aug. 26 expressing alarm at the testing guideline changes. “This recommendation is irresponsible when we know that roughly 40% of SARS-CoV-2 transmissions come from an asymptomatic person. … The revised guidance will result in less testing at exactly the time when we need more testing in order to control the pandemic,” according to the statement.

Both the letter and statement urge a reversal of the guideline changes to ensure adequate testing and efficient contact tracing to continue to fight the spread of SARS-CoV-2.

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