It may seem counterintuitive for the top public-health agency in America to water down testing guidelines in the midst of the raging coronavirus pandemic, especially as schools reopen to disastrous effect. But that’s exactly what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) did on Monday, updating its criteria to suggest some people without symptoms may not need to bother with that whole nasal swab thing after all, as The New York Times reported. This despite reams of evidence from scientific studies and anecdotal evidence that people can spread the disease before or without ever showing symptoms of it.
On Wednesday, CNN, citing a federal official, reported that “pressure” for the change came from the upper echelons of the Trump administration. Health and Human Services Assistant Secretary Brett Giroir suggested in a statement the move was purely science-based, and promised more information later Wednesday. But it was tough not to think back to the many times President Trump—currently in the midst of a pandemic denialist Republican National Convention—has publicly griped about how more COVID-19 tests mean more cases, and how that might not be good for him politically.