After Criticism, C.D.C. Reverses Covid-19 Guidelines on Testing People Who Were Exposed


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday reversed a recommendation that people who have had close contact with someone infected with the coronavirus did not need to get tested unless they had symptoms.

The change came after widespread criticism of the earlier guideline, as well as reporting from The New York Times that the recommendation had come from political appointees in the Trump administration and skipped the agency’s usual, rigorous scientific review.

“She is duplicitous,” Dr. Alexander wrote to Mr. Caputo. He asked Mr. Caputo to “remind” Dr. Schuchat that during the H1N1 swine flu outbreak in 2009, thousands of Americans had died “under her work.”

Mr. Trump sought on Friday to recalibrate his assurances on vaccine availability, acknowledging that authorized doses might not be widely available in the United States until next spring even if distribution starts earlier.

Speaking at the White House, Mr. Trump said that once a vaccine is authorized, “distribution will begin within 24 hours after notice.” He added: “We will have manufactured at least 100 million vaccine doses before the end of the year. And likely much more than that. Hundreds of millions of doses will be available every month, and we expect to have enough vaccines for every American by April.”

The president had said earlier that a vaccine would be available to “the general public immediately” once it is authorized, and although he held firm on that pledge, he acknowledged that it would take perhaps months from that point to distribute vaccines to hundreds of millions of Americans.

Because of fears that Mr. Trump would interfere in the process to improve his election chances and pressure the Food and Drug Administration to approve a vaccine before it was proved safe, the chief executives of all the leading pharmaceutical companies signed a pledge two weeks ago saying they would not release any vaccines until they were sure they were safe.

Opinion polls have shown that many Americans are already hesitant about taking a vaccine that is seen to have been rushed to market by the federal government for political reasons.

Mr. Trump’s estimates of how many vaccine doses would be available this year conflicted with projections by the chief science adviser for his administration’s Operation Warp Speed effort, Moncef M. Slaoui, a former chairman of global vaccines for GlaxoSmithKline and a widely respected figure in the vaccine field. He and other leaders of Warp Speed were present at Friday’s news conference but not asked to comment.

In interviews with CNN and National Public Radio, Dr. Slaoui has said he expected only enough vaccine to immunize 20 million to 25 million people by year’s end. Enough to vaccinate all Americans would be ready by about the middle of next year, he said.

On Friday, the health ministry said 144 people had died and 3,049 had tested positive for the virus in the past 24 hours.

An infectious-disease doctor at the main coronavirus hospital in Tehran posted a video on Instagram saying his hospital’s Covid-19 emergency triage team had seen over 200 patients a day in the past week, many of them students and teachers. He warned that at this pace, the country would soon face a crisis as hospital and medical staff members become overstretched and beds unavailable for new patients.

Global roundup

The R number, a measure of how many people on average a single patient will infect, rose to between 1.1 and 1.4, the government said on Friday. Any number over 1 is a worrisome indication that the epidemic is growing.

In the week ending Sept. 10, there were roughly 6,000 new daily cases outside hospitals and nursing homes in England, the government’s official statistics authority estimated, nearly a doubling from the week before.

In other news from around the world:

  • More than 30 million cases have been reported worldwide as of Friday morning, according to a New York Times database. India, in particular, has recently contributed significantly to the count, having added more than 93,000 new cases a day on average over the last week.

  • President Alejandro Giammattei of Guatemala said Friday that he had tested positive for the virus, becoming at least the fourth Latin American leader to be infected during the pandemic. In a video address, the president said he was in stable condition and continuing to work. More than 3,000 people have died from the virus in Guatemala. The country’s pandemic response has been hindered by widespread poverty, proximity to hard-hit Mexico and the Trump administration’s decision to continue deporting Guatemalan migrants, despite the high positivity rates among the returnees.

  • Thousands of Hasidic pilgrims who set out to celebrate the Jewish New Year at the grave in Ukraine of a revered rabbi started heading home on Friday, after being prevented from entering from Belarus due to virus travel restrictions.

  • New Zealand recorded no new cases of the virus on Friday for the first time in more than a month, after an outbreak in Auckland in August threatened the progress against the virus. The country now has just 70 active cases. Of those, 37 are from community transmission and the rest are from overseas arrivals.

  • Sciences Po, one of France’s most prestigious universities, is closing its Paris campus for 14 days after a significant number of students tested positive for the virus. Classes will be held online. And Nice, the country’s fifth-largest city, banned social gatherings of more than 10 people in parks, gardens and beaches to try to slow the spread of the virus. Cases have surpassed 50 per 100,000 people in Nice, where a third of the residents are considered elderly. The sale and consumption of alcohol is also forbidden after 8 p.m. and bars will have to close at 12:30 a.m. Bordeaux and Marseille are facing similar rules.

  • President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines has extended a national state of emergency until September 2021. Last month, the Philippine Congress extended Mr. Duterte’s emergency powers to address the pandemic, and it passed legislation allocating support for low-income households and people who lost their jobs because of the crisis.

  • A repeatedly extended ban on nonessential travel between the United States and Canada and the United States and Mexico that was set to expire Sept. 21 has been extended again, to Oct. 21, according to the Department of Homeland Security. However, Mr. Trump, speaking to reporters in Washington on Friday, said he was working to open the border with Canada “pretty soon.”

  • China’s CanSino Biologics and a military-backed research institute are preparing to start clinical trials of a two-dose vaccine regimen after scientists raised concerns that their current one-dose treatment failed to produce a strong enough immune response. The vaccine was promoted by Chinese state media as a front-runner in the vaccine race but struggled to get Phase 3 trials started in Canada.

Early voting began in earnest Friday in four states: Virginia, South Dakota, Wyoming and Minnesota, a key Midwestern battleground that both candidates visited.

With the pandemic limiting indoor gatherings, elections administrators have urged voters to cast ballots either by mail or in person before Election Day. States have already seen record numbers of absentee ballot requests, and officials expect exceptional levels of voter participation before Nov. 3.

At a municipal voting center in northeast Minneapolis, voters waited 30 to 40 minutes in a line that snaked through an office park near Interstate 35W. The familiar “I Voted” stickers were replaced with a more precise “I Voted Early” model.

The number of cases reported by schools will almost certainly be an undercount, experts say, because children in particular are likely to be asymptomatic when carrying the virus, and are unlikely to be tested in the absence of symptoms.

In other education news:

Reporting was contributed by Livia Albeck-Ripka, Peter Baker, Alexander Burns, Sarah Cahalan, Julia Carmel, Shaila Dewan, Sydney Ember, Nicholas Fandos, Farnaz Fassihi, Antonella Francini, David Gelles, Denise Grady, Ruth Graham, Katie Glueck, Christina Goldbaum, Jason Gutierrez, Rebecca Halleck, Anatoly Kurmanaev, Mike Ives, Andrea Kannapell, Isabel Kershner, Apoorva Mandavilli, Donald G. McNeil Jr., Constant Méheut, Zachary Montague, Benjamin Mueller, Kevin Roose, Anna Schaverien, David Segal, Michael D. Shear, Mitch Smith, Megan Specia, Liam Stack, Matt Stevens, Katie Thomas, Glenn Thrush, Maria Varenikova, Amber Wang, Sui-Lee Wee, Noah Weiland and Rachel Wharton.


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