Dec 29, 2021 - Health

Trump surgeon general slams new CDC guidelines on isolation

Former U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams testifies during a Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis hearing about how to counter vaccine hesitancy, on Capitol Hill July 1

Former U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams during a congressional hearing on Capitol Hill in July. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Jerome Adams, the U.S. surgeon general under former President Trump, criticized the CDC on Tuesday for shortening the recommended isolation time for people who test positive for COVID-19 to five days if they're asymptomatic.

Details: Adams also expressed concern in a Twitter post and in an interview Tuesday about the CDC's updated guidance on face masks, which advises that after the recommended isolation period, people should wear masks for at least five days to "minimize the risk of infecting others."

What he's saying: Adams told News 8 that "we haven’t had a great mask compliance thus far," and said "the science tells us" that not ending isolation until a negative antigen test result "is the best way to protect ourselves."

"I'm worried now that they’re saying that the people who have isolated for five days can end isolation. But what most of America will hear is that 'Hey, isolation is done for everybody.' It doesn’t matter if you’ve got symptoms or not, it doesn’t matter if you wear a mask because the guidance also says that for the second five days, you should be wearing a mask around everyone else."
— Jerome Adams to News 8

The big picture: Businesses across the U.S. have been strained with employees in quarantine as Omicron infections surge — notably the air travel industry, which saw thousands of flights canceled over the holiday period due to COVID-19 outbreaks among crews.

  • CDC director Rochelle Walensky said Monday after the CDC shortened its isolation guidance from 10 days to seven days for asymptomatic people that the update sought to balance "what we know about the spread of the virus and the protection provided by vaccination and booster doses."

What they're saying: NIAID director Anthony Fauci told CNN on Monday that the isolation recommendation was reduced due to "the sheer volume of new cases that we are having and that we expect to continue with Omicron."

  • “If you are asymptomatic and you are infected, we want to get people back to the jobs, especially those with essential jobs," said Fauci, who's also chief medical adviser to President Biden.
  • Representatives for the CDC did not immediately respond to Axios' request for comment.

Go deeper: Biden: "We have more work to do" on COVID testing capacity

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