Dr. Anthony Fauci said on Sunday that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention could recommend that asymptomatic people end isolation after five days if they test negative for COVID-19.
The CDC last week updated its isolation guidance for people with COVID-19, saying they could isolate for only five days instead of 10 days as long as they don’t have symptoms. They should wear a mask around other people for another five days, the CDC said.
Unions criticized the change, saying the CDC designed the new guidance to prevent staffing shortages instead of to keep employees safe.
Fauci told ABC News on Sunday that testing could soon be included in the CDC’s isolation recommendations.
“There has been some concern about why we don’t ask people at that five-day period to get tested,” Fauci said. “That is something that is now under consideration.”
Fauci said the CDC was aware of the pushback about the change and could announce something in the next couple of days.
In a later interview with CNN, Fauci said that he thought it was “reasonable” to test infected people with no symptoms after five days and that the CDC was expected to clarify the isolation guidance soon.
The CDC made the judgment that releasing people from isolation early would be “relatively low risk” because the likelihood of passing the virus on is much lower in the last five days of a 10-day isolation period, Fauci told CNN.
“There’s no doubt that you do want to get people out into the workplace if they are without symptoms,” he told CNN, adding, “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.”
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