Lack of testing requirement in CDC’s COVID steering not due to brief provide, Dr. Walensky says

The CDC’s new COVID-19 tips are drawing some criticism from medical specialists for not requiring a damaging check for asymptomatic sufferers to depart isolation. Some have speculated the shortage of a testing requirement is because of a brief provide of assessments within the U.S.

However CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky mentioned Wednesday that is not the case. 

“This actually had nothing to do with provide. It had every thing to do with figuring out what we’d do with the data once we bought it,” she mentioned on “CBS Mornings,” explaining that it is unclear if speedy antigen assessments present helpful info later within the an infection interval.

The brand new steering says individuals who check constructive for COVID-19, however don’t have any signs, can go away isolation after 5 days with out testing once more. They need to put on a masks for the subsequent 5 days, the CDC mentioned. 

“What we do know is about 85% to 90% of viral transmission occurs in these first 5 days, which is why we actually need individuals to remain house throughout that time period,” Walensky mentioned. “After which masks for the remainder of the time to seize that final 10% to fifteen%.”

On why a damaging check shouldn’t be required to depart isolation, Walensky mentioned PCR assessments would “not be viable” as a result of they will detect remnants of the virus for as much as 12 weeks, even after an individual is now not contagious.

As for antigen assessments, that are much less delicate than PCR, medical specialists do not know if they will decide if somebody will transmit the virus towards the top of a interval of an infection, Walensky mentioned.

“We all know it performs very well throughout that interval the place you are initially contaminated, however the FDA has by no means checked out whether or not … your constructive antigen actually does correlate with whether or not you are transmissible or not.”

So, even when somebody assessments damaging with an antigen check after 5 days of isolation, the CDC would nonetheless urge them to put on a masks to stop potential unfold.

“Because it wasn’t going to make a distinction in our suggestions, we didn’t suggest an antigen at that time period,” Walensky mentioned.

Nevertheless, she mentioned antigen assessments are “completely” advisable for people who’re uncovered to somebody who has COVID-19. They need to check 5 days after publicity or in the event that they get signs, the CDC advises. 

Specialists weigh dangers of latest CDC coverage


Dr. Celine Gounder, an infectious illness specialist at NYU and Bellevue hospitals, criticized the FDA for not additional assessing antigen assessments.

“Frankly, the FDA has had two years to do these assessments that Dr. Walensky is referring to: whether or not they’re nearly as good to make that preliminary prognosis to say you are contagious as they’re for saying you’re now not contagious,” Gounder mentioned Wednesday on “CBS Mornings.” “They’ve had two years and have been dragging their ft for 2 years.” 

Gounder additionally famous that the U.S. would not at present have sufficient speedy antigen assessments and mentioned she believes that’s “driving the choice to not embrace [testing] as a part of the protocol.” 

At-home antigen assessments are broadly accessible without cost within the U.Ok., and the Biden administration has vowed to ramp up provides and distribute free assessments within the U.S. within the coming weeks.

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