White House pandemic adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci said federal health officials are considering amending COVID-19 isolation guidance for people who test positive after pushback.
Fauci told ABC News on Sunday that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is now evaluating a recent rule revision that allows people who tested positive to leave if they haven’t received a negative COVID-19 test.
The CDC, in a revision last week, said that it shortened the COVID-19 isolation time from 10 days to five days for asymptomatic patients. For the next five days, the health agency now recommends that those asymptomatic people wear a mask around others at all times.
“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,” Fauci said. “The CDC is very well aware that there has been some pushback about that,” he added.
Fauci added that when “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.”
If the CDC issues another major revision of its quarantine guidance, it’s likely to spur more questions about the federal health agency, which has faced criticism about its messaging since Director Rochelle Walensky took over earlier this year. Walensky, in an interview with the Wall Street Journal several months ago, admitted that she is struggling with communicating to the American public about the agency’s guidelines amid the pandemic.
In a separate interview on Sunday with CNN, Fauci attempted to clarify the rules, saying that “there’s no doubt that you do want to get people out into the workplace if they are without symptoms.”
“In the second half of a ten-day period, which would normally be a ten-day isolation period, the likelihood of transmissibility is considerably lower,” Fauci said. With the rule change, “I, myself, feel that that’s a reasonable thing to do,” he added.
“There’s a big picture of trying to do it in a way that is scientifically sound, but that also gets people back to work,” he continued. “The CDC is doing their very best in trying to get the right balance of getting people back, but doing it on a solid scientific basis.”
The five-day quarantine rule, according to Walensky in a news conference last week, was based on what the federal government “thought people would be able to endure.”
The 10-day isolation guidance, she added, “was conservative … in the context of the fact that we were going to have so many more cases, many of those would be asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic, people would feel well enough to be at work.”
COVID-19 is the illness caused by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus.