CDC considering adding testing requirement to Covid isolation guidance, says Fauci after backlash

‘The change is motivated by science’

Harriet Sinclair
Sunday 02 January 2022 20:57


Dr Anthony Fauci has suggested the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention may reconsider its guidelines for Covid-19 following a backlash after isolation time was shortened.

The CDC last week shortened the recommended isolation time for coronavirus patients from 10 days to five, amid a surge in cases. However, Dr Fauci suggested a testing requirement on day five was being discussed.

“People with Covid-19 should isolate for 5 days and if they are asymptomatic or their symptoms are resolving (without fever for 24 hours), follow that by 5 days of wearing a mask when around others to minimise the risk of infecting people they encounter,” the CDC’s new guidance said.

“The change is motivated by science demonstrating that the majority of SARS-CoV-2 transmission occurs early in the course of illness, generally in the 1-2 days prior to onset of symptoms and the 2-3 days after.”

The announcement was widely panned considering the uptick in cases, particularly of the newer Omicron variant, across the country. Many people, including members of the medical profession, took to social media to openly question the new guidance – with some suggesting it was more about protecting companies from losing staff than it was about preventing the spread of coronavirus.

And speaking to ABC’s This Week on Sunday, Dr Fauci acknowleged that there had been some concern about the shorter isolation period and explained the CDC was considering adding a testing requirement to the five-day isolation period.

“You’re right, there has been some concern about why we don’t ask people at that five-day period to get tested. That is something that is now under consideration,” he explained.

“The CDC is very well aware that there has been some pushback about that. Looking at it again, there may be an option in that, that testing could be a part of that, and I think we’re going to be hearing more about that in the next day or so from the CDC.”

During the interview with host George Stephanopoulos, Dr Fauci also confirmed that Omicron thus far appeared to cause less serious cases of coronavirus – however, he warned that people should not be complacent about it.

“We first got inkling of that in South Africa when one looked at the relationship in the ratio between hospitalizations and cases, it was lower. The duration of hospital stay was lower. The requirements for oxygen was lower,” he said.

“We’re seeing a bit of that, not as pronounced in the U.K., but certainly that trend. And if you look here at the United States, we don’t want to get complacent at all and you don’t want to jump to a positive conclusion ‘cause it’s still early.”

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