CDC Director Rochelle Walensky recently spoke on the confusion that the new COVID-19 guidelines have caused.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently released new guidelines that reduced the isolation period from ten days to only five days. In addition, they stated that people who have been both vaccinated and boosted are no longer required to isolate if they come into contact with an infected individual. However, the CDC has suggested that they wear a mask for at least five days while in public.
Another criticism of the new guidelines is that they are no longer encouraging individuals to test after they have been isolated. Instead, they are encouraging individuals to test within three to five days of coming in contact with an infected individual to give the virus time to incubate. Although this guideline helps those who have struggled to find access to testing, it has received criticism from medical experts who think that people should test themselves before leaving isolation.
Under the new guidelines, the CDC does recommend that a person only leave isolation if they are free of symptoms. They also recommend wearing a mask for an additional five days after resuming normal activities to help prevent the spread of the virus.
In a new interview with Today, CDC Director Walensky explained the reasoning behind the changes to Savannah Guthrie.
‘We Are Now Standing On The Shoulders Of Years Of Science’
On Friday, Walensky told Guthrie that “We are now standing on the shoulders of years of science that has demonstrated that if you are infected, you are most contagious in the one to two days prior to your symptoms and the two to three days after your symptoms.”
“So we know that the vast majority of your contagiousness by day five is really behind you,” she added.
“So, in this moment, where we’re evaluating the science and looking at the epidemiology of the disease, we said five days of isolation and then, are you feeling better? Is your cough gone? If your symptoms are gone, we say you’re OK to come out of that isolation, but you really do need to wear a mask all of the time,” she continued.
She also defended the CDC’s new recommendation about getting tested at the end of the isolation period, framing it as more of a personal choice than a guideline.
Walensky Defends CDC’s Credibility In Face Of Public Scrutiny
Many have criticized the CDC’s frequently changing guidelines online and on social media. The detriment to the guidelines being criticized means it’s possible that some will not adhere to them, and this is something that Walensky acknowledged in Friday’s interview.
“We at the CDC are 12,000 people who are working 24-7 following the science with an ever-evolving nature in the midst of a really fast-moving pandemic, and we are doing so, putting our head down, to keep America safe,” she explained.
“We will continue to update, we will continue to improve how we communicate to the American public,” she added. “This is fast-moving science.”
Many schools around the country are also choosing to go remote instead of having in-person classes. Some colleges and universities around the country have decided to delay the start of the spring semester in the hopes of riding out the newest influx of cases.
However, Walensky believes that schools should actually remain open to in-person learning, rather than going remote.
“I want to remind people that we had a delta surge in the fall, and we were able to successfully keep our schools safely open, and we did that even before we had vaccines for our children,” she stated.
Although the Pfizer vaccine is currently the only vaccine that is approved for children ages 18 and younger, Walensky recommended that children ages 5 to 11 and 12 to 17 get vaccinated.
L.A. Daily COVID-19 Case Total Is Higher Than The Population Of Beverley Hills!
Even still, this might not be enough to quell the fear of concerned parents, who have hesitations about sending their children back to the classroom. Los Angeles County set a new record of 43,712 new COVID infections recorded in a single day.
To put it in more alarming terms, the 43,712 COVID-19 infections recorded in Los Angeles County is more than the entire population of Beverley Hills. However, only 2,902 of those people are hospitalized.
Despite the staggering numbers of positive cases, the low hospitalization rates have been interpreted by some medical professionals to mean that being vaccinated and boosted really is the key to overcoming the pandemic.