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With Omicron Spreading Like Wildfire, CDC Is Facing Pressure to Change One Longstanding Guideline

AP Photo/Susan Walsh, Pool

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is facing pressure to change the 10-day isolation recommendation for vaccinated people who become infected. Critics of the guideline argue it will have crippling effects on the economy and hospitals as the Omicron variant sweeps the nation.


The CEO of Delta Air Lines, for example, wrote to the CDC asking to bring the number of quarantine days from 10 to five for vaccinated individuals.

"Our employees represent an essential workforce to enable Americans who need to travel domestically and internationally," wrote CEO Ed Bastian, Delta's chief health officer, Carlos del Rio, and medical adviser, Henry Ting. 

"With the rapid spread of the Omicron variant, the 10-day isolation for those who are fully vaccinated may significantly impact our workforce and operations," they noted, pointing out that the 10-day period of quarantining was developed in 2020, prior to vaccines and treatment. 

Medical experts are also calling for a change in the guidance for vaccinated individuals. 

This “one-size-fits-all 10 day period” is unnecessary for many people and “extremely disruptive,” said Amesh Adalja, a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, to The Post.

“A realistic isolation period is one which lasts so long as contagiousness lasts. It may be as short as a few days in some people and longer in others,” he said. […]

Public-health experts backing a shorter isolation window say the longer restriction doesn’t make sense for the fully vaxxed because data suggests that vaccinated people appear to shed the virus, thus stop being contagious, faster than those who haven’t received their shots. […]

Adalja said daily rapid testing until a person returns a negative result could be the answer to “precision-guide the isolation period for individuals.”

Carlos del Rio, a professor of medicine in infectious diseases at Emory University School of Medicine, told The Post that by using the 10-day quarantine guideline, the feds “are treating everyone the same, and the data shows they are not the same.” (New York Post)


These experts are pushing for no more than five to six days of quarantine if the individuals get a negative test. 

The concern is that staffing shortages for those who have to call out sick for 10 days will have a devastating impact on hospitals and the economy. 

White House chief medical advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci said the change is being considered, especially for vaccinated healthcare workers. 

“Rather than keeping [healthcare workers] out for seven to 10 days, if they are without symptoms, put a N95 mask on them, make sure they have the proper PPE, and they might be able to get back to work sooner than the full length of the quarantine period,” Fauci told CNN. 

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