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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently updated its recommendation for people who test positive for COVID-19 to isolate themselves, shortening the window from ten days to five and that guidance is apparently not being well received by the powers that be.
In an appearance on the Sunday talk shows, Dr. Anthony Fauci cited “pushback” to suggest the CDC may start recommending a negative test requirement for asymptomatic individuals to exit isolation after five days.
The original update said: “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 minimize the risk of infecting people they encounter.”
“There has been some concern about why we don’t ask people at that five-day period to get tested,” Fauci told ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos on Sunday. “That is something that is now under consideration. 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,” he added. “And I think we’re going to be hearing more about that in the next day or so from the CDC.”
Interestingly, with the CDC recording more than 580,000 cases in the U.S. on Thursday, a pandemic record occurring on President Biden’s watch, Fauci said the time has come to focus less on case counts, as “infections become less severe.” He would add that “it is much more relevant to focus on the hospitalizations as opposed to the total number of cases.”
The nation’s top infectious disease specialist expressed hope that the “severe surge” being driven by the Omicron variant will peak within a matter of weeks.
“One of the things that we hope for is that this thing will peak after a period of a few weeks and turn around,” Fauci said. “We’ve seen that happen in South Africa with a head of major surge, but as quickly as the surge went up, it turned around.”
Fauci was pressed on what the motivation was behind the initial CDC update during an appearance on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
“You’ve always promised to follow science, Dr. Fauci,” host Dana Bash said. “Is this driven by science or by the social and business pressure we were talking about?”
“There’s no doubt that you do want to get people out into the workplace if they are without symptoms, and 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 in that second half of a ten-day period, and for that reason, the CDC made the judgment that it would be relatively low risk to get people out,” Fauci replied.
“You’re right, people are getting concerned about why not test people at that time? I myself feel that that’s a reasonable thing to do,” he continued. “I believe that the CDC soon will be coming out with more clarification of that, since it obviously has generated a number of questions about at that five-day period, should you or should you not be testing people.”
Pressed on whether he believed people should be tested, Fauci waffled, saying, “I’m not saying, yes, they should. It’s something that absolutely should be considered and I believe the CDC is going to clarify that.”
He would interrupt Dash to add further clarification.
“I have been in favor of that. I mean, I have said that, yes,” Fauci explained. “Excuse me. No, I said I have been in favor of that, but then again, 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. 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.”
CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky cited science last week when commenting on the update during a press briefing.
“We know that after five days people are much less likely to transmit the virus and that masking further reduces that risk,” Walensky said. “This science, as well as what we know about the protection provided by masking, vaccination and booster doses, and about our test performance, were all part of what informed our updated recommendations.”
The apparent backpedaling is prompting criticism that Fauci and Walensky are now caving to external pressure instead of following the science.
Fox News medical contributor Dr. Nicole Saphier tweeted: “The Biden Admin CDC has done this nearly every step of the way with Covid. They put forth a recommendation and within a week change it because of external pressure. If they are following the science, this wouldn’t happen. In 2022 we need less politics and more science.”
The Biden Admin CDC has done this nearly every step of the way with Covid. They put forth a recommendation and within a week change it because of external pressure. If they are following the science, this wouldn’t happen. In 2022 we need less politics and more science. https://t.co/wIcKem9xIX
— Nicole Saphier, MD (@NBSaphierMD) January 2, 2022
“As a result of external political pressure, the CDC and FDA have become compromised and have very little credibility at this point,” Saphier said in a follow tweet.
GOP rapid response director Tommy Pigott also responded to the latest development, charging that the CDC is taking its cues from Democratic special interest groups.
“We already knew that Biden’s CDC took its cues from Dem special interest groups, and now Fauci is basically conceding that under Biden, “pushback” from the left on twitter matters more than what the science says. How is this anything other than putting politics over science?” he tweeted.
We already knew that Biden’s CDC took its cues from Dem special interest groups, and now Fauci is basically conceding that under Biden, “pushback” from the left on twitter matters more than what the science says.
How is this anything other than putting politics over science? https://t.co/GI8njIazUV
— Tommy Pigott (@TommyPigott) January 2, 2022
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