UAB infectious disease professor addresses conflicting COVID-19 info

UAB infectious disease professor speaks on latest CDC updates

Ala. (WAFF) - Months now into this pandemic, conflicting information about coronavirus continues to spread - some of it seemingly by the CDC. Recently, officials have posted new updates to the CDC website, then proceeded to take them down a short time later.

For example, several weeks ago, the CDC announced that people who had been exposed to COVID-19 may not necessarily need to get tested if they weren’t showing symptoms (read more on that controversial announcement here).

Now, the CDC is stating that anyone who’s been exposed to the virus needs to get tested.

“The CDC issued a guidance that said if you’ve been exposed, you don’t need to be tested... and a lot of us were scratching our heads,” says Dr. Michael Saag, an infectious disease professor at UAB. “It really didn’t add up, and now they’ve reversed that fortunately, and I think we’re back to at least some degree of normalcy in terms of contract tracing in the United States.”

More recently, the CDC posted to its website saying coronavirus could be spread through aerosol transmission, only to remove the update days later.

“We know for a fact this virus is transmitted predominately by aerosols,” says Dr. Saag. “Regardless of what’s going on with CDC guidance, we know that to be true.”

So, why the contradictions? Dr. Saag says he believes the confusing information is a result of the current political climate.

"I think what we’re seeing is a battle between what the normal activity is at CDC and then a layering of political messaging that’s being forced about their guidance, and the concerning thing to me is that it can erode trust.”

Still, Dr. Saag says people “shouldn’t be too distracted by the squabbles,” and that the CDC website is a good resource.

“I have a lot of friends who work at CDC, and I know that they are struggling right now because they know how they normally do things, and they’re normally not under a cloud of politics like they are right now,” says Dr. Saag. “They’re doing their best to get the information out. A lot of them are demoralized by what they see happening now and then, but for the most part, they are getting their message out. It is a clear message. It’s just every so often, these things bubble up, and they’ve got to fight through it.”

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