CDC abruptly changes position on when to get tested for COVID-19

After weeks of encouraging people to get tested if they may have been exposed to COVID-19, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is now telling the public testing might not be necessary.
2:32 | 08/26/20

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Transcript for CDC abruptly changes position on when to get tested for COVID-19
We're going to turn to the coronavirus in the U.S. Tonight. The CDC is under fire for its sudden covid testing about-face, amid new guidelines tonight that now say if you've been exposed to the virus, you no longer need a test if you don't have symptoms. Many asking, why this change? And ABC news has now learned that Dr. Anthony Fauci did not sign off on this. Here's Steve osunsami. Reporter: Public health experts far and wide can't believe it. The new guidelines quietly shared on the CDC's website say that even "If you have been in close contact 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 public health officials recommend you take one." It's a huge change, and ABC news has learned it happened at a white house task force meeting August 20th, without the nation's top infectious disease doctor, who was under anesthesia, away getting surgery. Just last month, the CDC and other health officials were saying something different. Anyone who thinks they may be infected, independent of symptoms, should get a test. Reporter: "The New York Times" tonight is reporting that the change comes from the top down. From a president who believes the pandemic is being used to hurt his re-election campaign, and who is on record saying he'd like to see less testing. When you do testing to that extent, you're going to find more people, you're going to find more cases. So, I said to my people, slow the testing down please. Reporter: His critics are having a field day. Shame on them. This all is being politicized and, yes, we will be investigating. He now has CDC carrying forward his political agenda. And it is frightening and it is alarming. Reporter: This reaction online from a public health expert speaks for me. "This change in policy will kill." But senior white officials and the administration's testing coordinator insist tonight that this was driven and science and not politics. There is no direction from president trump, the vice president or the secretary, about what we need to do, when. Reporter: Our source connected to the white house task force says that people in the trenches are horrified by all this. They're concerned that this damages the public's trust in this agency, the CDC, and that it sends the wrong message to Americans about the dangers of being infected with covid-19, being out and about and not knowing that you're infected. David? All right, Steve osunsami reporting.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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