HHS Posted Controversial Testing Guideline On CDC Site Without Proper Scientific Review

UNITED STATES - FEBRUARY 27: HHS Secretary Alex Azar, testifies during the House Ways and Committee hearing on the Health and Human Services FY2021 budget in Longworth Building on Thursday, February 27, 2020. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
HHS Secretary Alex Azar testifies during the House Ways and Committee hearing on the Health and Human Services FY2021 budget on Thursday, February 27, 2020. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) reportedly posted the controversial COVID-19 testing guideline on asymptomatic people on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) site against protests by the agency’s scientists.

The New York Times reported on Thursday evening that the guidelines, which state that asymptomatic people need not test for the virus, was uploaded without being properly vetted through scientific review.

An official told the Times that the guidelines “came from the top down,” meaning the HHS and the White House’s COVID-19 task force.

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

HHS Assistant Secretary for Health Adm. Brett Giroir told the Times that he didn’t know why the guidelines were not first properly screened by CDC health experts and pointed to CDC Robert Redfield for an explanation.

The decision to post the document “certainly was not any direction from me whatsoever,” Giroir claimed.

The HHS senior official has denied that the guideline was prompted by pressure from President Donald Trump or the White House.

Redfield told the Times in a statement that the guidelines were “coordinated in conjunction with the White House Coronavirus Task Force” and “received appropriate attention, consultation and input from task force experts.”

That document wasn’t the only controversial guideline that got posted onto the CDC’s website without the agency’s knowledge; the CDC’s guideline on reopening schools was also quietly posted on the site, according to the Times.

Additionally, the CDC’s new testing guideline expected to drop on Friday has reportedly not undergone the usual internal scientific review.

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