How the CDC Bungled Testing of Early COVID-19 Quarantine Patients
CDC said no to COVID-19 testing for asymptomatic quarantine patients. Reuters explores how the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) “missed chances to spot COVID’s silent spread,” finding plenty of blame to go around.
Critics have widely asserted that the CDC fumbled key decisions during the coronavirus scourge because then-President Donald Trump and his administration meddled in the agency’s operations and muzzled internal experts. The matter is now the subject of a congressional inquiry. Yet Reuters has found new evidence that the CDC’s response to the pandemic also was marred by actions – or inaction – by the agency’s career scientists and frontline staff.
At a crucial moment in the pandemic when Americans were quarantined after possible exposure to the virus abroad, the agency declined or resisted potentially valuable opportunities to study whether the disease could be spread by those without symptoms, according to previously undisclosed internal emails, other documents and interviews with key players.
The CDC first refused to test a group of Americans evacuated from Wuhan, China, in early February 2020.
“It is CDC’s position that since the research is being proposed for a group of individuals who are detained under a federal quarantine order, the circumstances of voluntary participation would be extremely difficult to assure and therefore, CDC does not approve this study,” the CDC told researchers at Camp Ashland, where those returning from Wuhan were being quarantined.
The CDC also resisted testing asymptomatic people evacuated from the Diamond Princess cruise ship later that month.
“It’s difficult to know whether more aggressive early testing among asymptomatic people would have significantly altered the trajectory of the pandemic in the United States, which has infected 24 million people and killed more than 400,000,” says Reuters.
But in reality, it would take months before the CDC and other government officials took asymptomatic spread seriously—while testing protocols, stay-at-home advisories, and other rules and precautions were developed around the premise that infected people would almost always have a fever, cough, loss of smell, and other common symptoms.
In those early months of the pandemic, a lot of people who were exposed to COVID-19 but hadn’t yet developed symptoms struggled to get tests, thanks to CDC recommendations and state and local testing protocols that overlooked asymptomatic cases. Without symptoms or permission to be tested, many potentially infected people continued to work, see family, and more.
People making personal decisions about what activities to engage in also relied on that calculation, as did employers when setting worker absence policies. To this day, many people who are exposed
Article from Latest – Reason.com