For months, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have warned that asymptomatic carriers of the virus play a substantial role in its transmission and swift spread.
Unknowing transmission is largely the reason indoor dining and large gatherings have been significantly scaled back or canceled altogether across the nation.
So experts were alarmed when the CDC changed its testing guidance to dismiss the need for asymptomatic testing. The revised guidelines say that even asymptomatic people who may have been exposed to an infected person "do not necessarily need a test." According to the New York Times, officials high within the Trump administration urged the CDC to make these revisions.
The announcement came as Dr. Anthony Fauci recovered from vocal surgery he had last Thursday, when the meeting took place. Fauci is one of the most prominent members of President Donald Trump's virus task force, and the President has often contradicted Fauci's public statements and advisories.
CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta reported that Fauci insisted he "was not part of any discussion or deliberation" of the decision, and in fact it took place while he was "under general anesthesia in the operating room."
Fauci emphasized the threat posed by asymptomatic transmission:
"I am concerned about the interpretation of these recs & worried it will give people the incorrect assumption asymptomatic spread is not of great concern. In fact it is."
Fauci's statement contradicts one made by White House testing czar Adm. Brett Giroir on Wednesday. Giroir assured that the decision was put through CDC protocol and that Dr. Fauci helped craft the guidance.
People cried foul.
Trump has infamously complained that the reason cases in the United States outrank every other country is due to widespread testing measures. He's frequently dismissed the need for expanded testing and even claimed he told officials to "slow the testing down please."
Some considered this in reacting to the news.
Governors and local leaders are not required to limit precautions to CDC guidelines, and at least one Governor has said his state will not heed guidelines to constrict testing.