Covid-19 Live Updates: C.D.C. Changes Guidance on Testing


C.D.C. reverses guidance on testing for those exposed to the virus but showing no symptoms.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday reversed a recommendation that people who 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.

The Times reported on Thursday that the guideline had been posted on the C.D.C. website despite strenuous objections from the agency’s scientists.

The previous phrasing, which said asymptomatic people who had close contact with an infected person “do not necessarily need a test,” now clearly instructs them: “You need a test.”

Public health experts welcomed the change as consistent with research showing that people without symptoms can spread the virus. Some research has suggested that they are most likely to transmit it to others starting around a day before the onset of symptoms.

“It’s good to see science and evidence taking a front seat for a change,” said Scott Becker, the chief executive of the Association of Public Health Laboratories.

The original guidance, posted on Aug. 24, drew sharp criticism from the C.D.C.’s partners, including the Infectious Diseases Society of America, which urged its members to continue testing people without symptoms.

After a laundromat in Manhattan said it couldn’t pay its monthly rent in April and May, the property’s manager asked for half of the $7,200 bill, while also allowing another struggling tenant, an electronics repair store, to pay a third of its $12,500 monthly rent. A nearby clothing store in the Chelsea neighborhood had its $10,000 rent cut 50 percent.

The drastic reductions are part of a desperate effort by landlords to stave off vacancies even as revenue plummets and taxes, utilities and other costs erode their own reserves.

“We kind of just take what we can get and work out a number,” said the laundromat property’s manager, Aaron Weber, whose company manages nearly 40 commercial properties in Manhattan. “As long as they are paying something, we’re happy.”

Yet with thousands of small businesses that are a staple of city life unable to pay basics like rent during the pandemic, that has set off an extraordinary crisis for landlords, who have lost tens of millions of dollars in income since New York City’s lockdown began in March, analysts said.

Landlords face an unpleasant choice: Forgive or lower rent payments even as their own bills pile up, or hold firm and risk losing a tenant who may not be replaced for months or even years.

Even as some landlords are cutting rents, others have not considered any compromise, going so far as to threaten tenants with lawsuits even if a business faces permanent closure.

“On the tenant side, the stakes are a massive wave of not temporary but permanent closures, which will mean damages to personal credit scores, many lost jobs and all the ripple effects,” said Ari Harkov, a broker who has worked with commercial landlords and tenants. “On the landlord side, you’re talking about potential foreclosure, you’re talking about people defaulting on their loans, not being able to pay their bills.”

He added: “That could be very, very painful for New York.”

On Thursday, Argentina reported a single-day high of 12,701 new daily cases. More than 77,000 of the country’s 600,000 infections.

Argentina imposed a strict national lockdown in mid-March and closed its borders. Most commercial air travel was grounded, and movement among provinces was severely restricted, which helped keep most cases concentrated in the Buenos Aires metropolitan area, home to almost one-third of the country’s population. However, measures have been relaxed and tightened as cases ebbed and flowed.

The Sicilian town of Corleone adds restrictions after cases are linked to a large wedding.



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