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This just in: CDC Pressured to Relax C19 Testing Recommendations

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This just In - 8/26/2029

CDC Pressured to Relax C19 Testing Recommendations

Testing no longer recommended for those exposed if asymptomatic.

Obviously, this is not a good sign. Once COVID data was no longer routed to the CDC, as ordered by the White House in mid July, one expected that agencies closer to the administration, and with less technical expertise, would start making decisions regarding this crisis. This is a scary example.

I leave it to you to read the various articles (links below), but here are a few things to consider. It is well known that 40% or more people capable of spreading C19 are asymptomatic. The only way to know if they are a risk to other people is through testing, or following the future trail of destruction. While it is too much to ask, given our poorly managed testing infrastructure, that everyone get tested, the CDC's (now obsolete) recommendations that those known to have been exposed to the virus, get tested, seems not only smart, but crucial. Then why the change?

Remember: New "Cases" values are easily manipulated by reducing testing!
According to the various reporting, there is no stated basis for this decision. CDC insiders say it was imposed from higher up, and formally refer reporters to HHS for questions. HHS says it was a considered decision, and declines to provide any actual reason.
C19 "Case" numbers will now fall nation-wide while infections increase by untested c19 carriers.
As you've read a million times at, New "Cases", the primary metric used by the media, is heavily affected by testing rate, and as such is easily manipulated. With an election approaching, and US COVID performance looking terrible, any reduction in testing will be reflected across the media-verse as an improvement in the handling of COVID. The numbers will look better, as the virus spreads more and more quickly.

I have been begging via letters, email, comments, various media outlets to stop using this easily manipulated metric and focus on Percent Positives, which are much harder to fudge. They haven't done so, and as a result, they will be participating in what amounts to propaganda regardless of their political stripe.
Given how badly the no-mask policy went, I'm surprised that the administration would try yet another short-sighted scheme. Perhaps, the hope is that the effects won't be noticed until after the election?

ArsTechnica: In alarming move, CDC says people exposed to COVID-19 do not need testing

NYT: Top U.S. Officials Instructed the C.D.C. to Change Testing Guidelines

CNN: CDC was pressured 'from the top down' to change coronavirus testing guidance, official says



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Click a category Win/Lose button or select specific states: click in the field and start typing state name or abbreviation. Matching items will be displayed, and you can click the desired one to add it to the list. If the desired state is highlighted, hit return to add it.

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% Positives:

Percent Positives - Daily

Down is good. This section shows the percentage of new tests that are positive. THIS IS THE IMPORTANT NUMBER because it most directly indicates the actual rate of change in INFECTIONS, rather than cases.

Percent Positive Tests < 5% for at least a week is one requirement cited by some authorities for reducing quarantine restrictions.
Positive Tests (%)

Cases - Daily / 100k

Not a good indicator! These are the new cases reported daily per 100k population.

What's wrong with this metric? A state can make horrible Case numbers look good by doing less testing! Also, it punishes good policies, e.g. more testing, by making Case numbers look worse.

How? Say 40% the population has C-19, and we do 20 tests today. Then, we will get 8 New Cases today (40% of 20 tests). Now, say infection goes up to 50%, but we only do 10 tests today. Then we will get 5 New Cases today (50% of 10 tests). The infection rate is rising, but the New Cases NUMBER (which is the one we see the most in the news) has dropped by a lot, because testing has dropped a lot.

Percent Positives, would say we had 40% yesterday, and 50% today, so infection is going up. Period.

See Percent Positives above for a better indicator of infection rates. Deaths and Hospitalizations are also a better indicator of infection, than "cases".
Cases / 100k

Hospitalizations - Daily / 100k

Down is good. This shows the daily change in hospitalizations per 100k population. Hospitalizations data from many states is very low quality, with many states reporting irregularly, and some states not at all. This results in weird looking graphs, but you can get the gist for most states.

Some changes have occurred in reporting that cause states that had data to show up with zero hospitalizations. We are working to resolve this issue. If a state shows values, they are probably an accurate representation of what has been reported.
Hospitalizations / 100k

Deaths - Daily / 100k

Down is good. In conjunction with the other metrics, this can give an indication of how well a state's healthcare community is coping with the case load.
Deaths / 100k

Tests - Daily / 100k

Up is good. If the daily Cases graph is climbing, check here to see if the Tests is also climbing. If so, then the increase in cases may reflect more existing infections being detected, and not an increase in infection. Conversely, if a state is a "New Case Winner", but their testing is going down, they may just have infections that are not being counted.
Tests / 100k

Cases - Cumulative / 100k

Flat is good. If the curve was steep and is now leveling that is good. If it has been shallow or level and is now climbing, that may not be good depending on the testing rate.

*Raw data on which this page is based is pulled, real-time, from The COVID Tracking Project API created by The Atlantic Monthly and provided under a Creative Commons CC BY-NC-4.0 license.
Tables, charts and additional processing of data provided by The Last Lemming, a division of CamRock Interactive, Inc.
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