Speed Reads


Report: CDC testing guidance was published despite objections from scientists

In August, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was criticized for releasing guidance saying it wasn't necessary to test people without coronavirus symptoms who had been in close contact with an infected person for more than 15 minutes. Several people with knowledge of the matter told The New York Times this recommendation was not written by CDC scientists and was posted online over their strenuous objections.

A federal official told the Times "that was a doc that came from the top down," referring to the Department of Health and Human Services and the White House Coronavirus Task Force. "That policy does not reflect what many people at the CDC feel should be the policy." The document was "dropped" into the CDC's public website, bypassing the agency's scientific review process, and contained several "elementary errors," one official said.

The Trump administration's testing coordinator, Adm. Brett Giroir, told the Times on Thursday the original draft was written by the CDC, but over the course of about a month, it was read and commented on by multiple people, including CDC Director Robert Redfield and members of the White House Coronavirus Task Force. Giroir said he doesn't know why the guidance didn't go through the CDC's typical scientific review, adding that this "certainly was not any direction from me whatsoever."

A federal official with knowledge of the matter told the Times a new version of the testing guidance is expected to go up on the CDC's website on Friday, but this also hasn't undergone the agency's typical internal review for scientific documents, and Health and Human Services officials are now revising it. All of this comes as the CDC faces scrutiny over whether it is maintaining its independence amid the coronavirus pandemic, which has killed nearly 200,000 Americans. Read more at The New York Times.