New CDC quarantine isolation guidance receives mixed reaction
By Lia Kamanā
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released new guidance regarding COVID-19 quarantine isolation on Monday, Dec. 27.
The agency shortened the recommended times that people should isolate after testing positive for the virus from 10 days to five if they don’t have symptoms, and if they wear a mask around others for at least five more days.
The CDC also shortened the recommended time for people to quarantine if they are exposed to the virus to a similar five days if they are vaccinated. People who are fully vaccinated and boosted may not need to quarantine at all, the CDC said.
Dr. Anthony Fauci in response to the new guidelines saying, “”if you are asymptomatic and you are infected, we want to get people back to the jobs, particularly those with essential jobs to keep our society running smoothly. So I think that was a very prudent and good choice on the part of the CDC.”
But local epidemiologist and Senior Fellow with the East-West Center, Dr. Tim Brown, disagrees.
“My immediate reaction was a negative one. I do not see that this guidance is based on the science at all,” Brown said.
According to Brown, there is no evidence that infectivity stops after five days, even in vaccinated people. Saying this move by the CDC is a major mistake from a public health perspective.
“This recommendation is going to put people who are infectious into business settings or into hospital settings, which frankly is one of the most foolish things you could possibly do with something that spreads as quickly and easily as this,” said Brown. “So I think they are increasing spread with this decision.”
Others, like Fauci though, pointing to the economy and the need to avoid significant disruption to daily life.
“The last thing we want to do is reverse course and make it that much longer for the recovery process,” said Sherry Menor-McNamara
Menor-McNamara is the president and CEO of the Chamber of Commerce Hawaii.She say this decision by the CDC greatly lessens the challenges businesses are facing.
“This is going to be a huge help for restaurants,’ said Hawaii Restaurant AssociationChairman, Greg Maples.
According to Maples, lawmakers can’t keep shutting things down.
“If you do that you are going to see another 20-30% of restaurants close,” said Maples. “Restaurants are hanging on by their fingernails. People forget that while they may be busy now, they are still debt ridden, from all the debt building on, from back rent that they still haven’t been able to pay.”
Maples is also the Vice President of Culinary Services at the Polynesian Cultural Center and wants to remind people that Safe Access O’ahu is still in place and this new guidance hasn’t changed that.
Safe Access O’ahu requiring masks, increased sanitation, as well as vaccinations or proof of negative test for employees and guests.