CDC director Walensky says shortening isolation guidance partly due to what “people would be able to tolerate”

Dr. Rochelle Walensky, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) director, commented on Wendesday regarding the updated guidance for asymptomatic COVID-positive individuals.

Speaking to CNN, Walensky said, “It really had a lot to do with what we thought people would be able to tolerate.” She continued, “We have seen relatively low rates of isolation for all this pandemic. Some science is demonstrating less than a third of people are isolating when they need to. And so, we 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 specifically to when people were maximally infections. So it spoke to both behaviors as well as what people were able to do.” 

On Wednesday, the CDC announced that the recommended isolation period would be shortened from 10 days to 5 for asymptomatic individuals positive for the coronavirus. After the isolation period, the CDC added a recommendation of wearing a mask while around others for another five days. 

In its press release announcing the changes, the CDC said it 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.”

Walensky added that the previous 10-day isolation guidance “was conservative,” and she argued that with the increase in the number of cases, there are asymptomatic people that will feel well enough to go into work.




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