© Drew Angerer/Getty Images
Dr. Robert Redfield, Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention speaks while U.S. President Donald Trump listens during the daily briefing of the coronavirus task force at the White House on April 22, 2020 in Washington, DC. Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has responded to criticism over new coronavirus testing guidelines that excluded asymptomatic people. Redfield said people who need a test can get one, but said not everyone who wants to get tested for the virus truly needs to. Experts were initially critical of the move to exclude asymptomatic people in testing guidelines due to the prevalence of the asymptomatic spread of COVID-19.Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that those who want to get a coronavirus test are able to do so after criticism over changes to testing guidelines that excluded asymptomatic people. 

In a statement, Robert Redfield said: “Everyone who needs a COVID-19 test, can get a test. Everyone who wants a test does not necessarily need a test; the key is to engage the needed public health community in the decision with the appropriate follow-up action.”

On Monday, the CDC modified testing guidelines so that they no longer recommended coronavirus testing for anyone who has been within six feet of someone who has COVID-19 for at least 15 minutes, or is in a high coronavirus transmission area and has attended public or private gatherings with more than 10 people without widespread physical distancing and mask-wearing.

In all scenarios, testing may be appropriate for people at higher risk of contracting the virus. 

Experts were concerned about the changes because the new guidelines undermine the impact of asymptomatic spread of the virus. 

The World Health Organization has said the virus is mainly being spread by young people who are unaware that they are infected. 

“The epidemic is changing,” WHO’s Western Pacific regional director, Takeshi Kasai, said at a virtual briefing, according to Reuters.

“People in their 20s, 30s, and 40s are increasingly driving the spread,” he said. “Many are unaware they are infected. This increases the risk of spillovers to the more vulnerable.”

US Health and Human Services Assistant Secretary Dr. Brett Giroir told CNN on Wednesday that the guidelines had “been updated to reflect current evidence and best public health practices.”

In his statement, Redfield said the new guidelines are meant to focus on the most vulnerable patients.

“We are placing an emphasis on testing individuals with symptomatic illness, individuals with a significant exposure, vulnerable populations including nursing homes or long term care facilities, critical infrastructure workers, healthcare workers and first responders, or those individuals who may be asymptomatic when prioritized by medical and public health officials,” Redfield said. 

On Wednesday, two federal health officials accused the Trump administration of pressuring the CDC to change the guidelines. 

President Donald Trump has repeatedly claimed that the US should test less, falsely claiming in public remarks that increased testing increases case numbers and makes the US look bad. 

Notably, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the country’s leading infectious disease expert was not apart of the discussions about changes to testing guidelines. 

“I was under general anesthesia in the operating room and was not part of any discussion or deliberation regarding the new testing recommendations,” Fauci told CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta.

“I am concerned about the interpretation of these recommendations and worried it will give people the incorrect assumption that asymptomatic spread is not of great concern. In fact it is.”

Video: CDC now says ‘testing may be considered’ after critics callout new guidelines (ABC News)

CDC now says ‘testing may be considered’ after critics callout new guidelines

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