One day after changing its agency’s recommendations on Covid-19 testing for asymptomatic individuals, CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield, now says that “all close contacts of confirmed or probable COVID-19 patients” may consider testing.
Health officials nationwide voiced concern over the change on the CDC website that suggested people exposed to the virus “do not necessarily need a test” unless they’re having symptoms, are older or are otherwise medically vulnerable.
The governors of Connecticut, New Jersey and New York also issued a joint statement in response to the changes, calling the new testing guidelines “reckless.”
Despite Redfield’s statement, the CDC’s website had not changed as of Thursday afternoon.
“The biggest Achilles’ heel of the disease is that about 40 percent of people out there who get infected with this virus are asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic,” said Dr. Carlos Del Rio, executive associate dean at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta.
The incubation period for COVID-19 is considered to be 14 days, meaning a person might become infectious and/or develop symptoms within two weeks after exposure.
MORE ON THE PANDEMIC
More than one million Americans applied for first-time unemployment benefits last week as the country continues to grapple with the fallout from the pandemic. The weekly report by the Labor Department found that those seeking unemployment aid fell by 98,000.
More than 14.5 million people are now collecting traditional jobless benefits, an increase of 1.7 million a year ago.
Lawmakers are restarting talks on coronavirus relief legislation. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows have not spoken since negotiations failed weeks ago and lawmakers returned home for summer break. The two sides remain in a stalemate over the next round of stimulus aid for Americans.
Judge James Donato of California has blocked a federal rule allowing pandemic relief aid to be given to private schools instead of K-12 public schools.
The decision temporarily halts the U.S. government from implementing the rule in Michigan, California, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, New Mexico, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin; Washington, D.C.; and school districts in New York City, Chicago, Cleveland and San Francisco.
Abbott Laboratories has been granted permission to market its new COVID-19 portable antigen test that can deliver results within 15 minutes. The $5 test, called BinaxNOW, is about the size of a credit card and requires no additional equipment to operate.
Abbott executives say the test, which uses a less invasive nasal swab, could be used to test those returning to schools or workplaces and could help aid the reopening of the U.S., the executives said.
The company plans to make the tests available for sale in September.
Abbott has also created an app that those who have taken the test could present before entering venues to show that they are coronavirus-free.
Antigen tests like BinaxNOW are indeed cheaper and faster than lab-based diagnostic tests but somewhat more likely to fail to identify positive cases of the virus.
According to a recent survey by human resources consulting firm Mercer, 83% of employers say that, even after the pandemic crisis ends, they plan to offer workers the choice of working remotely or adjusting their schedules.
Ninety-four percent of employers surveyed said that company productivity was the same or better than what it was before the pandemic.
The pandemic has closed the doors of the first department store established in the U.S. Lord & Taylor, once a mainstay of high-end fashion, announced on Thursday that it is officially going out of business after 200 years.
Last week, the company announced it would keep 14 of its stores open. But in a quick reversal, all of its 38 remaining stores and website have begun liquidation sales.