Just when you thought things couldn't get more absurd, the Biden administration is now dropping PCR tests from its Covid end-of-isolation guidelines because they can stay positive for up to 12 weeks.
"So we would have people in isolation for a very long time if we were relying on PCRs," said CDC Director Rochelle Walensky on a Wednesday appearance on "Good Morning America."
This means that for the past 21 months, people sat home for extra days and weeks because their test came back with an irrelevant positive. We didn’t know this 6, 12, 18 months ago? Really? — Yossi Gestetner (@YossiGestetner) December 29, 2021
Some had speculated that the lack of testing requirement is due to a short supply of tests - however Walensky said on Wednesday that's not the case.
"This really had nothing to do with supply. It had everything to do with knowing what we would do with the information when we got it," she told "CBS Mornings."
According to the new CDC guidance, people who test positive for Covid-19, yet have no symptoms, can leave isolation after five days instead of ten, without testing again, and should wear a mask for the next five days.
CDC has known tests didnt work at least as early as July 2021. In reality they have always known. But in any case, here's proof (7/21/21). They waited to make the change bec political polls for 22 werent good. As I said yd, theyre distancing themselves from covid@YossiGestetner https://t.co/SYXlbcWxTc pic.twitter.com/FGnBVrjyiI — Dudley (@SmellsBadInHere) December 29, 2021
"What we do know is about 85% to 90% of viral transmission happens in those first five days, which is why we really want people to stay home during that period of time," said Walensky. "And then mask for the rest of the time to capture that last 10% to 15%."
"We know it performs really well during that period where you're initially infected, but the FDA has not at all looked at whether … your positive antigen really does correlate with whether you're transmissible or not."
So, even if someone tests negative with an antigen test after five days of isolation, the CDC would still urge them to wear a mask to prevent possible spread. "Since it wasn't going to make a difference in our recommendations, we did not recommend an antigen at that period of time," Walensky said. However, she said antigen tests are "absolutely" recommended for individuals who are exposed to someone who has COVID-19. They should test five days after exposure or if they get symptoms, the CDC advises. -CBS News
NYU infectious diseases specialist Dr. Celine Gounder slammed the FDA for not doing more due diligence on antigen tests.
"Frankly, the FDA has had two years to do these assessments that Dr. Walensky is referring to: whether they're as good to make that initial diagnosis to say you're contagious as they are for saying you are no longer contagious," said Gounder Wednesday on "CBS Mornings." "They've had two years and have been dragging their feet for two years."