HHS Posted Controversial Testing Guideline On CDC Site Without Proper Scientific Review

A San Diego County health nurse collects a sample from a patient at a drive-in Covid-19 testing site during the global outbreak of the coronavirus disease in San Diego California

NYT: US CDC testing guidance was published against scientists’ objections

On August 26th, the agency ignited a controversy when it changed its guidance to say that asymptomatic individuals do not need to be tested, even if they came into close contact with someone who has coronavirus.

Previously, the CDC page Govit-19 was mainly thought to spread about 6 feet between those in close contact - and "by respiratory droplets formed when the victim coughs, sneezes or speaks". The CDC recently changed its official guidance to note that aerosols are "thought to be the main way the virus spreads" and to warn that badly ventilated indoor spaces are particularly risky.

"There is growing evidence that droplets and airborne particles can remain suspended in the air and be breathed in by others, and travel distances beyond 6 feet (for example, during choir practice, in restaurants, or in fitness classes)", the page now says. From saying "some people without symptoms may be able to spread the virus", it now says, "people who are infected but do not show symptoms can spread the virus to others".

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The reversal from the CDC on Friday comes one day after The New York Times reported that the testing guidance was placed on the agency's website last month despite objections from agency scientists.

While CDC generated the original draft, the sources say officials at HHS-CDC's parent organization-rewrote the guidance and "dropped" it onto CDC's public website without undergoing the strict scientific review process that normally applies.

"Airborne viruses, including COVID-19, are among the most contagious and easily spread", the site now says. Spread from touching surfaces is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.

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Now, those who have been within 6 feet of a person with the coronavirus for at least 15 minutes, and those without symptoms, "need a test" as opposed to the August wording of "don't necessarily need a test", McClatchy News previously reported. Friday's updated guidance described the song as one of the activities that could produce contaminating aerosols. The risk for death from COVID-19 increases as body mass index increases. They said it was important to make sure the face masks fit properly so that the aerosols would not escape or enter through gaps in the mask around the nose or mouth.

Milton and Shelley Miller, another aerosol researcher at the University of Colorado Boulder, is studying ways in which wind instrument singing and playing can be made safer by distance, ventilation and coverage with different types of materials. "Then they can understand, and many more will comply", Jimenez said. "Evidence is accumulating", Milton wrote in an email to CNN.

"If we tell people rules they don't understand, it doesn't work".

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