The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention just halved the recommended quarantine period for individuals who test positive for Covid and also reduced the time period for those who have been exposed.
In a statement, CDC said, “CDC is shortening the recommended time for isolation from 10 days for people with COVID-19 to 5 days, if asymptomatic, followed by 5 days of wearing a mask when around others. The change is 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.”
There are a few ways to look at this change. One idea — the least believable — is that our scientific understanding of Covid has changed so dramatically in recent days that it prompted this change. The other possibility is that it was an arbitrary standard to begin with, derived out of “an abundance of caution” that was never firmly supported by science. It’s become simply too inconvenient now that Omicron is ripping through the professional class.
Anthony Fauci’s comments on CNN point toward the second explanation.
“The reason is that with the sheer volume of new cases that we are having and that we expect to continue with Omicron, one of the things we want to be careful of is that we don’t have so many people out,” Dr. Anthony Fauci explains why CDC changed Covid isolation guidelines. pic.twitter.com/g48XwcDdJh
— The Situation Room (@CNNSitRoom) December 27, 2021
The reason why this is so revealing is that for nearly two years now, we’ve been told we have to “trust the science.” Every time somebody has argued that we cannot be so myopically focused on Covid, and we have to balance our interest in Covid mitigation against the harm and disruption to people’s lives caused by draconian guidance, they have been attacked as being anti-science, and even as participants of a death cult. But in his answer, Fauci is arguing that it’s prudent to match our Covid mitigation practices with practical concerns. This is what we should have been doing all along.
This should be an eye-opening moment for those who treated the public-health community as all-knowing and deferred to them at every twist and turn. It would be a good opportunity to now ignore CDC’s other arbitrary and destructive guidance, starting with masking in schools.
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