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CDC places ‘moratorium’ on releasing new coronavirus health guidance

For the last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has stopped issuing new health information related to the novel coronavirus after altering the procedure by which that information was being shared with the American people, sources with direct knowledge of the change told ABC News.

The type of information that has been withheld has previously been vital to hospitals, health officials and local leaders on the front lines providing updated guidance on how to treat, test and slow the spread of the illness, which has claimed over 200,000 American lives. A source told ABC News that includes additional “guidance on who should be tested and when,” adding, “That stuff won’t get updated.”

From at least Sept. 24 to Sept. 30, the CDC has stopped updating new health guidance and recommendation information, according to the sources. An ABC News review of the CDC website shows a timeline that supports the lack of information being updated.

­­A CDC source familiar with the COVID response called the halt in information flow to the American public a “moratorium,” adding, “Scientists are prevented from updating the CDC website with new information, recommendations and policies surrounding COVID.” A separate source confirmed CDC guidance updates are not currently being published, but disagreed with the categorization of a “moratorium” and instead insisted “agency leadership is just ensuring the review process is being followed.”

“If any updates are made to existing guidance or new guidance is made, the CDC is requiring every piece to have approved talking points and maybe a summary statement,” CDC employees and scientists learned on a CDC conference call Wednesday morning according to a source that was on the briefing call.

The source told ABC News, “We know we have new science, but updates based on new and emerging science are not updated or able to be shared,” including CDC “recommendations on best practices and guidance on how to protect yourself and others from getting and spreading COVID.”

This new requirement will create a backlog of information from over a week ago, according to the sources.

PHOTO: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Dr. Robert Redfield speaks at a hearing of the Senate Appropriations subcommittee reviewing coronavirus response efforts, Sept. 16, 2020, in Washington, D.C.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Dr. Robert Redfield speaks at a hearing of the Senate Appropriations subcommittee reviewing coronavirus response efforts, Sept. 16, 2020, in Washington, D.C.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Dr. Robert Redfield speaks at a hearing of the Senate Appropriations subcommittee reviewing coronavirus response efforts, Sept. 16, 2020, in Washington, D.C.

One source told ABC News within the last several days more precise testing guidance for nursing homes was cleared and has yet to be posted. This delay is in sharp contrast to previous action, when guidance was being posted quickly, the source added.

“If this information is true, it is truly chilling. Political interference with CDC is one of the major reasons why our response to this pandemic has been such a disaster,” said Dr. Richard Besser, the former acting director of the CDC and current president of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. “CDC is one of