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CDC reverses controversial testing advice that caused backlash

NEW YORK — U.S. health officials on Friday dropped a controversial piece of coronavirus guidance and said anyone who has been in close contact with an infected person should get tested.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention essentially returned to its previous testing guidance, getting rid of language posted last month that said people who didn’t feel sick didn’t need to get tested. That change had set off a rash of criticism from health experts who couldn’t fathom why the nation’s top public health agency would say such a thing amid a pandemic that has been difficult to control.

Health officials were evasive about why they had made the change in August, and some speculated it was forced on the CDC by political appointees within the Trump administration.

The CDC now says anyone who has been within 6 feet of a person with documented infection for at least 15 minutes should get a test. The agency called the changes a “clarification” that was needed “due to the significance of asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic transmission.”

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