CDC director says new COVID-19 isolation rules were based on ‘what we thought people would be able to tolerate’

Jake Epstein

Dr.  Rochelle Walensky, Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and top expert in infectious diseases Dr.  Anthony Fauci testifies before Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee on July 20, 2021 at Capitol Hill

CDC Director Rochelle Walensky testified before the Senate on July 20th. J. Scott Applewhite-Pool / via Getty Images

  • New guidelines for COVID isolation are based on what the CDC “thought people would be able to tolerate.”

  • CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said the changes were made in the wake of rising cases.

  • The Omicron variant accounts for 59% of all COVID-19 cases in the United States, according to CDC data.


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Rochelle Walensky said Wednesday that the abbreviated guidelines for COVID-19 isolation were based on what the CDC “thought people would be able to tolerate.”

“It really had a lot to do with what we thought people would be able to tolerate,” Walensky told Katilan Collins. CNN, after she asked if the decision had as much to do with business as it did with science.

On Monday, the CDC updated its recommended isolation policy for people infected from 10 days to five days – as long as they have no symptoms.

She added: “We have seen relatively low isolation rates for this whole pandemic.”

Walensky said the CDC’s isolation guidelines were previously “conservative” and that the changes were made in the context of expecting an increase in COVID-19 cases where many people would be asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic.

“People would feel good enough to be at work – they would not necessarily tolerate being at home – and if they might not comply with being at home, that’s the moment we should make that decision and these changes,” she said. .

According to the latest data from the CDC, the highly contagious Omicron variant accounts for about 59% of all COVID-19 cases in the US – an increase from 23% of cases last week.

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