The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention may recommend that people infected with Covid-19 get tested before leaving isolation after five days, Dr. Anthony Fauci said on Sunday.
The CDC reduced the recommended isolation period for people who test positive for Covid from ten to five days on December 27. That change was “motivated by science demonstrating that the majority of SARS-CoV-2 transmission occurs early in the course of illness,” according to a CDC statement.
However, Fauci noted that after pushback from some public health officials, the CDC may add a testing recommendation before infected individuals can emerge from isolation.
“You’re right, there has been some concern about why we don’t ask people at that five-day period to get tested,” Fauci told host George Stephanopoulos on ABC’s This Week on Sunday. “That is something that is now under consideration….I think we’re going to be hearing more about that in the next day or so from the CDC.”
Dr. Anthony Fauci tells @GStephanopoulos that the CDC is considering amending the isolation guidance for asymptomatic patients to include testing.
— This Week (@ThisWeekABC) January 2, 2022
The U.S. experienced a national Covid testing shortage over the Christmas and New Year holiday period, with suppliers unable to keep up with demand for at-home antigen tests and long lines outside testing sites in New York and other major cities. When asked about the shortage in December, President Biden said his administration was surprised by the spread of the Omicron coronavirus variant, which “spread more rapidly than anybody thought.”
Fauci continued to back reduction of the recommended isolation period from ten to five days in order to return people to work as quickly as possible amid spread of Omicron, noting reductions in capacity for police and fire departments in various cities.
“The likelihood of transmissibility is considerably lower in that second half of a ten day period,” Fauci told CNN’s Dana Bash on State of the Union. “For that reason, the CDC made the judgement that it would be relatively low risk to get people out.”
CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky provided a similar justification for reducing the isolation period last week, saying the updated isolation period “ensure[s] people can safely continue their daily lives.”