Aug 28, 2020
(Reuters) – A majority of U.S. states have rejected new Trump administration COVID-19 testing guidance in an extraordinary rebuke of the nation’s top agency for disease prevention, according to officials at state health agencies and public statements reviewed by Reuters.
At least 33 states continue to recommend testing people who have been exposed to COVID-19 and have no symptoms, spurning guidance published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) this week that said testing may be unnecessary.
Sixteen states did not immediately respond to requests for comment and North Dakota said it had not made a decision.
Among the states breaking with the federal government are conservative-leaning Texas, Oklahoma and Arizona.
Public health experts said a rupture of this magnitude with the CDC may be unprecedented and shows deepening distrust of the Trump administration and its response to the pandemic.
“This is states almost all-out rebelling against the new guidelines,” said Michael Mina, assistant professor of epidemiology at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
The CDC said on Monday that people exposed to COVID-19 but not symptomatic “do not necessarily need a test unless you are a vulnerable individual or your health care provider or State or local public health officials recommend you take one.”
The CDC had previously recommended testing of all people who had close contact with someone who was diagnosed with COVID-19. That remains the policy of at least 30 states. Some that have not changed policy said they were studying the CDC guidance.
A spokeswoman for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), which oversees the CDC, said the new guidance does not discourage asymptomatic individuals from being tested.
She said that public officials who are breaking with the administration “have incorrectly interpreted the guidance … Read more.