Physician: CDC should have ‘told the truth’ regarding isolation guidance

Media top headlines January 5

In media news today, a producer exits Canada’s public broadcaster over its ‘radical political agenda,’ Jen Psaki denies the White House has ‘lost control’ of COVID, and an MSNBC anchor says his family was denied entry into an NYC restaurant because his 4-year-old daughter was unvaccinated.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shocked the nation with its sudden switch-up on quarantine guidance since the omicron variant began running rampant.

But University of California San Francisco Department of Medicine chair Dr. Bob Wachter told “Pod Save America” Tuesday that the CDC should’ve just been honest with the American people about why isolation was being shortened to five days for specific cases.

“The thing that really bugged me was I think they should’ve just told the truth,” he said. “The message they put out was the tests don’t work very well on day five. That’s just wrong. That’s just not right. They work perfectly fine; they’re great for that.”

Atlanta, Georgia, USA – August 28, 2011: Close up of entrance sign for Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Sign located near the 1700 block of Clifton Road in Atlanta, Georgia, on the Emory University campus. Vertical composition. (iStock)
(iStock)

Wachter said that the real reason the CDC tweaked guidance was due to the fact that testing is in low supply. The doctor suggested the CDC should have instead advised patients to refrain from testing out of quarantine if they are not feeling sick, wear an appropriate mask and abstain from interacting with vulnerable people.

The COVID-19 testing line wrapped around the block at Long Beach City College PCH campus according to social media and on site workers. By the afternoon the lines weren"u2019t as bad, maybe a 30-minute wait, as people came to get tested during this winter surge, the rise of the Omicron variant and post-holiday get togethers in Long Beach on Monday, December 27, 2021. (Photo by Brittany Murray/MediaNews Group/Long Beach Press-Telegram via Getty Images)
(Photo by Brittany Murray/MediaNews Group/Long Beach Press-Telegram via Getty Images)

The CDC’s claim of inaccurate testing on day five is backward, Wachter pointed out, since the omicron variant is actually harder to detect on day one.

“There’s a little bit of a risk that people will test negative on their first day, positive the next day, but they were already infectious that night,” he said. “But there’s no evidence they don’t work for that purpose which is to tell you whether you’re infectious as you get to the tail end.”

“That message, I thought, was not only wrong but potentially harmful because people need to use and trust the tests if they use them in the right way.”

WASHINGTON, DC – JANUARY 04: Dr. Anthony Fauci walks across the stage as U.S. President Joe Biden arrives for a meeting of the White House COVID-19 Response Team January 4 , 2022 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

On the contrary, Wachter predicted omicron will be the “lucky break” of the pandemic come February due to the variant’s high transmissibility — offering up heightened immunity to many — and its mild symptoms. 

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