The decision of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to shorten recommended times for people to isolate after testing positive for Covid-19 has raised eyebrows.
Erin Bromage, professor of biology at the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth, said he was concerned about isolation periods being cut from 10 days to five if a Covid-19 positive person does not have symptoms. Speaking to New Day, Bromage said there was no data to support it.
There is absolutely no data that I'm aware about with the Omicron variant that supports people coming out of isolation five days after they were first diagnosed with the virus. My own work shows that when we look at people five, seven, eight days after they were first tested positive or first symptoms, they still have enough virus in their nose, in the back of their throat to be able to come up positive on these antigen tests and antigen tests are very good proxy for live virus and the ability to be able to infect others. So it seems that they've made a decision without the data to actually support this change,” he said.
The new CDC guidance does not require a negative test at the end of the isolation period, a move which Bromage said seems to be born from the "fact that it's really hard to get your hands on tests."
He said tests are a good way to reduce anxiety in workplaces, especially in roles where people are unable to socially distance themselves.
"I can tell you with people that work in very, very close proximity to each other, where masks are not worn regularly because of the job function when ... you're returning them to work after being infected and after sickness, the people that are working around them want to know that they're not going to get infected by that person," he said.
The lack of a testing requirement "just seems to be adding risk and anxiety that we don't really need,” he said.