The American Medical Association is criticizing the revised coronavirus testing guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, calling them "a recipe for community spread." The guidelines, which advise against testing asymptomatic people who have come into contact with people who tested positive, were developed without input from Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert.

The CDC guidelines now recommends testing only asymptomatic people falling into vulnerability categories or if health officials advise testing.

“Months into this pandemic, we know COVID-19 is spread by asymptomatic people. Suggesting that people without symptoms, who have known exposure to COVID-positive individuals, do not need testing is a recipe for community spread and more spikes in coronavirus," Susan R. Bailey, president of the American Medical Association, said in a statement.

“When the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updates a guidance the agency should provide a rationale for the change. We urge CDC and the Department of Health and Human Services to release the scientific justification for this change in testing guidelines.”

The Department of Health and Human Services said the change in guidelines were designed to bring more meaningful test results and were backed by medical experts, including Drs. Deborah Birx, who is coordinating the administration response to the pandemic, and Stephen Hahn, head of the Food and Drug Administration.

CDC Director Robert Redfield issued a clarification Thursday, saying everyone who needs a coronavirus test can get one.

"Everyone who wants a test does not necessarily need a test; the key is to engage the needed public health community in the decision with the appropriate follow-up action,” Redfield said in a statement.

Admiral Brett P. Giroir, M.D., assistant secretary for Health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said during a press briefing on Wednesday that the narrower criteria for testing was not politically motivated but rather an attempt to thwart a false sense of security that may occur with a negative test.

While Giroir said Fauci was present during the discussions, the head of the National Institute for Allergies and Infectious Diseases said he was undergoing surgery at the time.

"I was under general anesthesia in the operating room and was not part of any discussion or deliberation regarding the new testing recommendations," Fauci told CNN. Fauci had surgery to remove a polyp from his vocal cords earlier this month.

Fauci told CNN that he is “concerned about the interpretation of these recommendations” and is “worried it will give people the incorrect assumption that asymptomatic spread is not of great concern.”

“In fact,” Fauci added, “it is.”

Experts have said widespread testing is necessary to contain the disease.

The U.S. has reported more than 5.8 million positive cases of the coronavirus, with deaths from COVID-19 exceeding 180,000, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

A coronavirus tester takes a swab sample at a drive-through testing station in Melbourne A coronavirus tester takes a swab sample at a drive-through testing station in Melbourne Photo: AFP / William WEST