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CDC is Once Again Considering Humiliating Reversal to Quarantine Guidelines After Fierce ‘Backlash’

Dr. Anthony Fauci said Sunday that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) might once again change its quarantine and testing guidelines for people who test positive for COVID-19 or have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive.

Fauci joined host George Stephanopoulos on ABC’s “This Week” after the CDC issued a reduction of isolation guidelines from ten days to five days, which was attributed to the changing “science” and by pointing to economic factors — a matter of public policy and not scientific guidance.

“A pretty big backlash this week to the CDC cutting quarantine for those testing positive without symptoms to five days,” Stephanopoulos began. “First of all, are you surprised by that, and what was the – why not have a negative test? Why not require a negative test for that extra layer of protection?”

“Well, let’s talk about the first principle, George. The idea of if a person is without symptoms and infected, that they need to be isolated for five days. Normally that would be ten days. The CDC decided that they would cut that down to five days if the person remains asymptomatic so long as when they do go out in the second five days of that ten-day period, back to work or back into society, that they diligently wear a mask,” Fauci explained.

“You’re right 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,” he continued. “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 apart of that, and I think we’re going to be hearing more about that in the next day or so from the CDC.”

CDC Director Rochelle Walensky earlier told CNN’s Kaitlan Collins that the change to the guidelines were due to what public health officials believed people could “tolerate.”

“Of course there is this tail end period of time in the last five days where we are asking you to mask. But the other things we were looking at is the epidemiology here. We are seeing and expecting even more cases of this Omicron variant. Many of those cases are mildly symptomatic, if not asymptomatic,” Walensky said. “And then finally the behavioral science. What will people actually do when they get back to work?…If we can get them to isolate, we want to make sure they are isolating in the first five days when they are maximally infectious.”

“So from what you are saying, it sounds like this decision had just as much to do with business as it did with the science,” Collins asked.

“It really had a lot to do with what we thought people would be able to tolerate,” Walensky responded. “We have seen relatively low rates of isolation for all of this pandemic. Some science has demonstrated that less than a third of people are isolating when they need to. We really want to make sure we have guidance in this moment where we were going to have a lot of disease that could be adhered to, that people were willing to adhere to, and that spoke to specifically when people were maximally infectious. So it really spoke to both behaviors and to what people were able to do.”

“Public health” officials have been setting federal and state policy since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic. The U.S. Constitution and state constitutions only give such authority to legislatures and not unelected bureaucrats.


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OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion.