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New CDC Guidelines Stir Doubt After Delta Airlines CEO Letter Reveals Ask for Shorter Isolation and Quarantine

New CDC Guidelines Stir Doubt After Delta Airlines CEO Letter Reveals Ask for Shorter Isolation and Quarantine

To the dismay of some authorities, U.S. health officials made the decision on Monday to shorten the recommended COVID-19 isolation and quarantine period from 10 days to five. Not only is the change drawing criticism from some medical experts and could create more confusion and fear among Americans, but the new guidelines also allow for people to leave isolation without getting tested to see if they are still infectious. Monday’s action by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) cut in half the recommended isolation time for Americans who are infected with the coronavirus but have no symptoms. The CDC similarly shortened the amount of time people who have come into close contact with an infected person need to quarantine. CDC officials said the guidance is in keeping with growing evidence that people with the virus are most infectious in the first few days.

But the new guidance has raised questions about how it was crafted and why it was changed now, in the middle of another wintertime spike in cases, this one driven largely by the highly contagious omicron variant. And more serious questions were raised when it was learned that Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian asked the head of the CDC last week to shrink quarantine guidelines for fully vaccinated individuals who experience breakthrough COVID-19 infections, citing the impact on the carrier’s workforce.

The CDC has been under pressure from the public and the private sector, including the airline industry, to shorten the isolation time and reduce the risk of severe staffing shortages amid the omicron surge. Thousands of flights have been canceled over the past few days in a mess blamed on Omicron.

The CDC move follows global efforts to adjust isolation rules, with policies differing from country to country. Twitter users voiced their anger and skepticism and weren’t shy about letting both the government agency and Delta Air Lines know it.

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