Dr Rochelle Walensky, director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told CBS Mornings on Friday that the CDC had not focused its recommendations around isolating Covid-19, but instead provided guidance to those who chose to have an antigen test.
“I remind you that isolation is for people who have tested positive,” she said, when asked about changes to isolation guidelines. “We now have dozens of articles that are now on our CDC website that we have reviewed to update these guidelines in the context of the science and epidemiology of our time.”
She said it is known that for one to two days before infection and two to three days after symptoms, this is the time when a person is most infectious. By the fifth day, after the symptoms, “most of that contagiousness, that contagiousness is really behind you,” she said.
“This is really where they say: do you have symptoms? If your symptoms improve, it’s safe to go out as long as you wear a mask all the time, ”she said. “What we heard over the past week is that a lot of people were interested in using an antigen test, they had access to the antigen test.”
“So we didn’t pivot our recommendations, what we did was provide advice on how you would use and interpret this antigen test, if you so chose to take a measurement. extra to get one, ”she said. “And that is, if it’s positive, stay home. And if it is negative, please continue to wear your mask, because that does not mean that you are no longer contagious. ”
When asked if testing would be required before leaving isolation if testing was widely available and access was not an issue, Walensky said “we need testing to leave quarantine – quarantine being that period of time after being exposed. What I’m saying is that we need to provide guidance that is, you know, science-based, grounded in the epidemiology of our present time, and applicable at the state and local jurisdiction level. ”
“If they can’t get a test, they should wear a mask,” Walensky said, when asked what people who haven’t been able to take a test should do after the five days of isolation. . “And that’s actually really what our tips say, isolate for those first five days, after those first five days, make sure you feel better, if you feel better then you can really go out, but you have to. go out and you have to wear your mask all the time.
Walensky also responded to criticism of the release of the guidelines, saying that “we are working 24/7, 12,000 people to keep America safe, to update our guidelines in the context of a very rapidly evolving science and a very rapidly evolving epidemiology. We have room, we can improve our communications on how we deliver this science to the American people. We will continue to do so. We have received criticism, but we have also received a number of approvals of these new directions. ”