Trump administration wrote controversial health agency guidelines on testing

WASHINGTON (AFP) – United States (US) President Donald Trump’s administration posted controversial recommendations on coronavirus testing to the US health agency’s website against its objections, the New York Times reported on Thursday.

The guidelines, which said testing was not necessary for people who were exposed to COVID-19 but not displaying symptoms, were criticised when they were issued last month.

That is because healthcare experts at the time were pushing for more, not less, testing to help track and control the spread of the respiratory disease that has now killed almost 200,000 people in the US.

The newspaper said the recommendation was posted to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website “despite their serious objections”, citing internal CDC documents and unnamed officials familiar with the issue.

“The Department of Health and Human Services did the rewriting and then ‘dropped’ it into the CDC’s public website, flouting the agency’s strict scientific review process,” the newspaper said.

A federal official told the paper that the document came from the Department of Health and Human Services, or HHS, and from the White House Coronavirus Task Force.

“That policy does not reflect what many people at the CDC feel should be the policy,” the official said.