The influential American Medical Association (AMA) on Wednesday criticized the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) revision of guidelines for quarantine and claimed it is confusing.
Last week, the CDC reduced its recommended quarantine time from 10 days to 5 days for people who have asymptomatic COVID-19. On Tuesday, the agency reaffirmed its decision and said most transmission of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, which causes COVID-19, occurs early on during the infection.
The CDC, which updated its guidance late last month amid the spread of the Omicron variant, said the change was “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.” SARS-CoV-2 is another name for the CCP virus.
But, “according to the CDC’s own rationale for shortened isolation periods for the general public, an estimated 31 percent of people remain infectious 5 days after a positive COVID-19 test,” said AMA president Dr. Gerald E. Harmon in a statement Wednesday in criticizing the CDC’s directive.
“With hundreds of thousands of new cases daily and more than a million positive reported cases on January 3, tens of thousands–potentially hundreds of thousands of people–could return to work and school infectious if they follow the CDC’s new guidance on ending isolation after five days without a negative test,” Harmon said, adding that a negative antigen COVID-19 test should be required for ending quarantine after one tests positive.
Although “test availability remains a challenge in many parts of the country, including in hospitals,” Harmon said his organization wants the Biden “administration to pull all available levers 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,” he said.
Harmon did not elaborate on how the federal government or CDC should deal with the current shortage of COVID-19 test kits. Nor did he address potential workforce or staffing shortfalls that may be triggered if employees remain on COVID-19-related leave for a longer period of time.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters on Tuesday that the federal government is working to distribute the first batch of COVID-19 at-home tests later this month.
The Omicron variant, which was discovered in southern Africa in November, has spread across the United States. in recent days, accounting for more than 95 percent of all cases as of last week. The variant has supplanted the previously dominant Delta variant, CDC data also shows.
Studies have suggested that Omicron appears to present less severe symptoms than previous variants. Several hospital doctors around the United States told The Associated Press in a report published Wednesday that a number of COVID-19 cases in the official government don’t tell the whole picture—with some saying that most COVID-19 hospitalizations are not because of the virus but due to something else.
The Epoch Times has contacted the CDC for comment.