Following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s adjustment of isolation rules related to Covid-19, the American Medical Association has shared a statement strongly disagreeing with the decision while saying the CDC is sending “mixed messaging.”
Recently, the CDC cut isolation time from ten days to five days for those infected with the virus. That prompted a response from AMA president Gerald Harmon in a stern statement released on Wednesday. Harmon worries that the new five-day isolation rule could clog up hospitals once again and overwhelm medical professionals.
“Nearly two years into this pandemic, with Omicron cases surging across the country, the American people should be able to count on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC),” Harmon began his statement. “For timely, accurate, clear guidance to protect themselves, their loved ones, and their communities. Instead, the new recommendations on quarantine and isolation are not only confusing, but are risking further spread of the virus.”
The AMA president said the CDC’s new isolation guidelines could have huge implications going forward. He says that tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of people may return to school and work still infected after only five days. Harmon worries that our nation’s healthcare system won’t be able to accommodate that many infected patients who could need serious help.
“A negative test should be required for ending isolation after one tests positive for COVID-19. Reemerging without knowing one’s status unnecessarily risks further transmission of the virus,” Harmon’s statement says.
Harmon acknowledged that there’s a shortage of testing available to the public, including in hospitals. He asked that officials do everything they can to “ramp up production and distribution of tests.”
“But a dearth of tests at the moment does not justify omitting a testing requirement to exit a now shortened isolation,” Harmon added.
CDC Implements New Isolation Guidelines Following Covid Exposure
The CDC reduced their recommended 10-day isolation period to five days on December 27. The agency noted that recent data led to their decision to reduce isolation in half. The CDC stated that between days five and 10, patients can resume normal life, but that they should always wear a face covering.
In addition, the agency stated that anyone who has not had their booster should adhere to the same guidelines when exposed. Those who have their booster shots don’t need to quarantine though, but must still wear masks for 10 days.
The head of the CDC, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, spoke about the agency’s updated guidelines recently. She seemed to suggest that the reduction in isolation time is partly due to business concerns. For example, the airline industry called for a decrease in the 10-day quarantine. Companies are having trouble with their staff missing work due to exposure, and in some cases, it’s halting business altogether.
“The Omicron variant is spreading quickly and has the potential to impact all facets of our society,” Walensky said. “These updates ensure people can safely continue their daily lives.”