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Why the CDC’s coronavirus testing guidelines are all over the place this week

When new CDC guidelines were released earlier this week detailing a more lax approach to testing — one of more proven ways to help curb COVID-19 spread — most of us was were baffled. Then, early Thursday, the CDC walked back their new guideline, confusing everyone further. The reason why the CDC seems so discombobulated this week can likely be explained in one word: politics.

On Monday, August 24, the CDC updated their guidelines to suggest that some people without coronavirus symptoms may not need to get tested, even if they’ve been in close contact with someone known to have the virus. This update directly contradicted what most doctors have been telling everyone to do since our worldwide nightmare began, and caused upheaval within the medical community, including the American Medical Association.

There are a few reasons for this back-and-forth from the people who hold our health in our hands, and none of them are particularly encouraging. First, All of this fracas seems to be coming from the upper echelon of D.C. politics.

According to CNN, the new CDC guidelines seem to be the result of an idea from the White House looking to curb excess testing because of a surge of coronavirus cases. Let’s not forget that President Trump has said in the past that we would have fewer coronavirus cases if we tested less, an exercise in factual acrobatics, according to the numbers.

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If you’re wondering why short king and vocal member of the Coronavirus Task Force Anthony Fauci let this happen, it’s because he apparently didn't know about it. When the task force made the decision, Fauci was reportedly in surgery, getting a vocal polyp removed. Pretty ironic, considering he’s been a leading voice of reason during this pandemic.

So, on Thursday morning, Robert Redfield, the director of the CDC, walked back the new guideline for coronavirus testing, citing what experts have been suggesting the whole time. “Everyone who needs a COVID-19 test, can get a test. Everyone who wants a test does not necessarily need a test; the key is to engage the needed public health community in the decision with the appropriate follow-up action,” Redfield said in a statement, according to the New York Times. However, the CDC website has not updated the guideline they put forth on Monday at the time of this writing, even though their leader suggests otherwise.

“We know COVID-19 is spread by asymptomatic people. Suggesting that people without symptoms, who have known exposure to COVID-positive individuals, do not need testing is a recipe for community spread and more spikes in coronavirus,” said Susan R. Bailey,

president of the American Medical Association, in a statement. ok at recent behavior from The White House could probably explain a lot.

If it seems like politics could be messing with our health, there’s plenty of evidence. Almost as much evidence that proves testing as many people as possible, symptoms or not, is the key to coming out of the other side of this pandemic.