The CDC has changed its Covid-19 testing guidelines and now no longer recommends testing for asymptomatic people who have been exposed to the virus.
Previously, the CDC advised those with recent or suspected exposure to be tested, even if they were not experiencing symptoms of the coronavirus.
Guidance on the CDC website said previously: “Testing is recommended for all close contacts of persons with SARS-CoV-2 infection. Because of the potential for asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic transmission, it is important that contacts of individuals with SARS-CoV-2 infection be quickly identified and tested.”
On Monday, the website was changed to read: “If you have been in close contact (within 6 feet) of a person with a COVID-19 infection for at least 15 minutes but do not have symptoms, you do not necessarily need a test unless you are a vulnerable individual or your health care provider or State or local public health officials recommend you take one.”
Those with symptoms are still advised to get tested.
Some health experts disagree with the CDC’s recommendation. Dr. Leana Wen, an emergency physician and public health professor at George Washington University, said in an interview on Wednesday that the new testing guideline changes make no sense because research has shown that asymptomatic individuals can spread the virus to those vulnerable populations. “These are exactly the people who should be tested,” Wen said.
MORE ON THE PANDEMIC
In two weeks, coronavirus cases among children in the U.S. has increased by 21%. From the beginning of the pandemic to August 20, nearly 443,000 children tested positive for the virus, according to a joint report from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children’s Hospital Association.
The report summarizes publicly reported data from 49 states, New York City, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Guam. Since the last report on August 6, there have been 74,160 new cases in children, increasing the total from over 358,000 to 432,000.
A new analysis by MIT and University of Oxford researchers finds that the current guidance of six feet for safe physical distancing may not be enough to stop the spread of the coronavirus. Researchers advise people to distinguish between high-risk and low-risk exposure and consider other factors, such as ventilation, crowd size, exposure time and whether face coverings are worn, when making decisions on physical distancing.
Studies suggest that the coronavirus may travel more than six feet when individuals cough or shout. In the highest-risk situations, such as indoors “with poor ventilation, large crowds, prolonged contact time and no face coverings,” distancing beyond six feet should be implemented.
Patients in Belgium and the Netherlands have been infected twice by different strains of the coronavirus, according to virologists in those countries.
The patient in Belgium experienced mild symptoms both times and did not require hospitalization. The twice-infected elderly patient in the Netherlands had a compromised immune system, doctors report.
In addition, a 33-year-old man living in Hong Kong was reported to have had coronavirus twice this year.
American Airlines has announced it will cut 19,000 jobs in October as it struggles to recover from the effect of the pandemic on the travel industry. 8,100 of those jobs will be those of flight attendants.
The layoffs come after the departure of 23,500 employees who accepted buyouts, retired early or took long-term leaves of absence. On Monday, Delta Air Lines announced it will furlough 1,941 pilots in October unless it negotiates a deal to cut costs with the pilots’ union.
Airbnb has announced that it will allow its employees to work remotely through August 2021, even if offices reopen before then.
“We are offering this remote working extension to give employees the ability to plan further ahead and make the choices they need around school calendars, being closer to family, caring for vulnerable family members, and other personal decisions,” Airbnb said. “We are fortunate that our employees are able to perform their jobs from home, and we are supporting them as they do so.”
Home furnishing retailer Bed Bath & Beyond is cutting 5% of its workforce in an effort to streamline its operations and save $150 million amid the pandemic. Twenty-eight hundred employees will lose their jobs immediately.
Last month, the company, which also owns Buybuy Baby and Christmas Tree Shops, announced it was permanently closing 200 brick-and-mortar stores starting later this year.
Fast food chain KFC says it will stop using its “Finger Lickin’ Good” slogan due to the coronavirus pandemic. The company has also changed its packaging to hide the phrase but said the iconic slogan will return when appropriate.
The company revealed its new packaging in a YouTube video, showing the slogan pixelated on its containers and marketing materials, saying: “That thing we always say? Ignore it. For now.”