Aldon Thomas Stiles | California Black Media
On the Monday after Christmas, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shortened its COVID-19 quarantine recommendation by half.
That same day, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced on Twitter that California will follow suit, recommending a five-day isolation period instead of the state’s former guidance of 10 days.
“California will align with the CDC’s updated guidelines for isolation and quarantine time,” Newsom tweeted.
Despite the alignment, there is a difference
However, California’s updated guidance differs from the CDC’s in one important way. The state is recommending that people who quarantine after a positive diagnosis take a follow up test and get a negative result before ending isolation.
The CDC’s guidelines do not include taking another test after quarantining.
CDC justifies its decision
The CDC said its decision, in part, is based on science that shows people are most infectious during the first five days of catching the virus.
In an interview with NPR, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said another rationale for the new shortened guidance is the concern for keeping industries that are critical to the national economy operating.
Sharing this concern, Delta Airlines CEO Ed Bastian, along with the company’s Medical Advisor Dr. Carlos del Rio and Chief Health Officer Dr. Henry Ting, sent a letter to Walensky less than a week before CDC’s updated recommendation, requesting a five-day isolation period for Delta’s fully vaccinated employees.
The letter argued that the previous guidelines were out of date and did not account for vaccinations.
It also argued that the former 10-day isolation period would hurt business because with the spread of the Omicron variant, vaccinated workers who do catch COVID-19 would be out for a longer period.
“With the rapid spread of the Omicron variant, the 10-day isolation for those who are fully vaccinated may significantly impact our workforce and operations,” the letter read. “Similar to healthcare, police, fire, and public transportation workforces, the Omicron surge may exacerbate shortages and create significant disruptions.”
In December 2020, the CDC shortened its previous recommendation of a 14-day isolation period to 10 days.
California Black Media’s coverage of COVID-19 is supported by the California Health Care Foundation.