Under Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the guidance of health experts from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, New York state has emerged from the deadly shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic to record and maintain the lowest infection rate in the nation.
So the news that New York will not impose the CDC’s inexplicable new COVID-19 testing guidelines, which, among other things, discourage coronavirus testing for individuals exposed to the virus, is disturbing in many ways.
Adding sting to the CDC’s puzzling about-face is the possibility the changes are politically motivated.
The CDC, which has recently rolled back several coronavirus guidelines, announced Monday it would no longer recommend COVID-19 testing for people who were exposed to the disease but were not experiencing symptoms.
State leaders and health experts who have been advising them since the pandemic raged through New York are mystified by the CDC’s reversal of their own guidance. All of them agree that it doesn’t make sense from a health standpoint.
Sadly, one plausible explanation is the CDC wants fewer people taking tests because President Donald Trump believes with typical convoluted logic that if you don’t know how many people are COVID-positive, the number of COVID-positive people will go down.
Last week, for example, the CDC dropped a recommendation that travelers returning from international trips or places with a high number of coronavirus cases self-quarantine for 14 days. The decision emerged from meetings held by a White House coronavirus task force.
The CDC’s new position is inexcusable from a public health point of view. We agree that it makes absolutely no sense.
What a tragedy it would be if Trump put the thumbscrews on the CDC to change its guidelines just when it seems New York has the coronavirus on the run. And what a disaster it would be to see the CDC’s acquiescence result in more sickness and more death.