The baffling guidance published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last month advising against COVID-19 testing for those who have been exposed to the virus if they do not have symptoms was penned by Trump administration officials and published against the objections of CDC doctors, The New York Times reports. CDC scientists reportedly did not approve the recommendation that was put out via the agency’s website, as they normally would with medical matters, and they objected to its message after its publication. Staffers from the Department of Health and Human Services penned the memo, according to the Times. One federal official told the Times, “That was a doc that came from the top down, from the HHS and the task force. That policy does not reflect what many people at the CDC feel should be the policy.” Admiral Brett Giroir, testing coordinator for the CDC, reportedly said he did not know how or why the document skirted scientific review. Public health experts have largely maintained throughout the coronavirus pandemic that the United States needs to conduct more testing, not less. Dr. Anthony Fauci said he was under anesthesia at the time of the change.
Michael Caputo, the assistant secretary of public affairs at the Department of Health and Human Services who is now on a leave of absence, told The Daily Beast at the time, “I’m sure there are some middling individuals at the CDC who are dissatisfied with the weather, with the car they drive, with their work environment, but at the end of the day the fact of the matter is, this came from the CDC, this came from the scientist, this came from the task force. The politicians had nothing to do with it. No Trump, no Pence, no Azar.”