Chairman Clyburn Questions Updated CDC Guidelines on Coronavirus Testing
Washington, D.C. (August 26, 2020) — Today, Rep. James E. Clyburn, Chairman of the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis, issued the following statement in response to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) changing its coronavirus testing guidelines to assert that some people who have been in close contact with someone known to have the virus may not need to be tested:
“I am greatly concerned by the change in CDC guidance limiting recommended coronavirus testing, reportedly pursuant to instructions ‘coming from the top down.’ Widespread testing is essential to stopping the spread of the virus and safely reopening our economy. President Trump, however, has expressed a desire to ‘slow the testing down’ in order to conceal the true extent of the outbreak, and it appears that this new CDC policy is consistent with that misguided view. The public health response to this pandemic must be based solely on science. CDC should immediately explain this abrupt policy change. If this change was based on non-scientific considerations, it must be swiftly reversed, and testing must be expanded as widely as possible in order to save American lives and livelihoods.”
Previously, the CDC said viral testing was appropriate for people with recent or suspected exposure, even if they were asymptomatic. Public health experts have been consistent and vocal that increased testing is needed to stop the spread of the virus and safely reopen the country.
The coronavirus has killed at least 175,000 Americans since February, with nearly 1,000 still dying every day. At a Select Subcommittee hearing on July 31, Assistant Secretary for Health at the Department of Health and Human Services Admiral Brett Giroir acknowledged that more than 40 percent of test results in the U.S. were too slow to be useful in stopping further spread.