As the White House seeks to distance itself further from the politically unpopular and burdensome pandemic protocol that saw schools closed for extended periods of time, mom and pop shops go out of business, and mental health and substance abuse crises worsen, there's new CDC guidance released on Thursday that brought some major changes to how the feds tell Americans to handle COVID-19.
Revealing some of the political motivation behind the change was the CDC's Greta Massetti who said the new guidance "helps us move to a point where COVID-19 no longer severely disrupts our daily lives" despite the fact that many Americans had already cast aside the government-recommended standards for dealing with exposure to and infection by COVID.
Most notably, the new CDC guidance treats vaccinated and unvaccinated Americans the same without disparate penalties for those who chose not to get vaccinated. It's also somewhat of an acknowledgement of natural immunity from previous infection and the higher numbers of positive cases in fully vaccinated and boosted Americans.
In a welcome change for many parents who struggled to accommodate strict COVID restrictions in educational settings while keeping their jobs or paying for childcare, the new guidelines also do away with the "test to stay" protocol for exposures. However, the new guidance still recommends universal masking for students in areas where community spread is high or mask mandates at any level of spread — showing that the CDC is still not all the way there — but it's some progress that should help kids stay in school to continue learning when they're healthy.
The CDC also eliminated its quarantine recommendation for those exposed to COVID, as well as screening recommendations for people not showing any symptoms.
Finally, the government seems to be catching on to the idea of having Americans rely on personal responsibility while protecting those who are most vulnerable to serious infection rather than forcing a once-size-fits-all mandate that unnecessarily punished those with little risk of becoming seriously ill from COVID.
In yet another contradiction to President Biden's 2020 campaign promise that he would "shut down the virus," the CDC's Massetti said "the pandemic is not over" and "we know that COVID-19 is here to stay." The new guidance is at least an initial sign that the Biden administration is waking up to the reality many Americans already knew — shutting down schools, businesses, and normal life in some quixotic attempt to eradicate COVID was not a realistic strategy.
If you needed more indication that the new COVID guidance is at least a step in the right direction, some of the "experts" are already criticizing the updated guidelines.
In one such instance, The Washington Post quotes Julia Raifman of the Boston University School of Public Health complaining that the CDC is no longer imposing strict guidelines for dealing with COVID.
"The CDC sets the bar on what should happen, like a speed limit. Instead, we have the CDC establishing that there are no speed limits and making it very difficult for state and local governments to set better policies," Raifman told The Post.
Others slammed the CDC for not following "the science," despite the fact that these same govern-me-harder people pointed to the CDC as the ultimate arbiter of "the science" for the last two years.
<Breaking>— Jeremy Faust MD MS (ER physician) (@jeremyfaust) August 11, 2022
New CDC guidance effectively ends test to exit.
Now: testing to remove mask.
Asymptomatic people can now go back to public, even if + on rapid test =day 6.
This goes against science.
Asymptomatic people CAN spread virus. Masking is imperfect (esp. if not N95).
I'm not on here for another week, but I am popping up to say this new CDC guidance is bullshit and I'm mad about it.— Crista Anne is Pro-Abortion (@pinkness) August 11, 2022
So an individual can "make their own decision" and go possibly infect someone else is now CDC guidance. https://t.co/tVyQqdKbKb— Faith Harbert (@Prettyinpink290) August 11, 2022
CDC issues new guidance on Covid-19: pic.twitter.com/HPhY0JZg6g— Alex Zalben (@azalben) August 11, 2022
With new Covid guidelines, the CDC today also released its refreshed branding line: “Corporations are people too.”— Eric Reinhart (@_Eric_Reinhart) August 11, 2022
Walensky’s presser: “For too long, Fortune 500 has been marginalized in public health despite generating historic profits. Today, we change that. America is back.”