New CDC Testing Guidance “Came From the Top Down”

Over the weekend the CDC changed its guidance for COVID-19 testing. Previously, they advised that if you’ve been in close contact with someone who’s infected you should get tested. Now they say there’s no need for a test unless you have symptoms.

This took everyone by surprise. Even if you have no symptoms, you might still be infected and you might be able to infect others. Common sense says you should get tested. So why the U-turn?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was instructed by higher-ups in the Trump administration to modify its coronavirus testing guidelines this week to exclude people who do not have symptoms of Covid-19 — even if they have been recently exposed to the virus, according to two federal health officials. One official said the directive came from the top down. Another said the guidelines were not written by the C.D.C. but were imposed, Sheryl Gay Stolberg reports for The Times.

I suppose we shouldn’t be surprised. Donald Trump is on record as saying that he doesn’t like testing because it just makes our confirmed case count go up. He’s also on record as saying no, he wasn’t kidding about this. He really doesn’t like testing and wants to do less of it.

The result of all this is almost certainly that more people will die than needed to. All because Trump doesn’t like facing reality:

We Recommend


Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.


Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.