The United States’ top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, said Sunday that as the most contagious COVID-19 variant Omicron surge all over the country, federal health officials are mulling to add a negative test along with its five-day isolation, quarantine for asymptomatic American residents who contracted with the virus.
Fauci further added that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) plans to include the negative test as a new part of its guidance after getting significant pushback on its latest recommendations last week. Moreover, under the 27th December guidance, isolations restrictions for Americans infected with Coronavirus were cut from ten days to five days if they were no longer experiencing fever or symptoms.
The US top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, anticipated further clarification on the CDC’s latest guidelines to end the Coronavirus isolation period after just five days for asymptomatic patients.https://t.co/3xvowwh76D pic.twitter.com/2bLFC2ABdT
— Live News Now (@LiveNewsNow6) January 3, 2022
After those five days, they should spend the following five days wearing a face mask during interaction with others. Instead, many health professionals criticized the updated guidelines for not specifying a negative antigen COVID test as a requirement for leaving isolation. The White House top medical adviser said that there had been some concern about why the agency does not ask residents at that five-day duration to get tested. CDC will announce more clarifications about that testing within one or two days.
Omicron is Overwhelming the Health Care System
Fauci further said that the country faces a vertical surge of new virus cases during the holiday season, averaging four hundred thousand patients per day. The U.S. is in the middle of a severe uptick, and surges in new cases and hospitalizations also accelerated. Fauci also raised his concerns that the new variant is overwhelming the countrywide health system and causing significant disruption on other essential services.
Fauci’s latest comments on testing came as the Biden government faced a shortage of Coronavirus tests. The federal government’s enhanced strategy that includes distributing five hundred million free at-home tests did not arrive in time to avoid significant disruptions to holiday travel. It remains unclear when those tests will reach American nationals who want them.
The CDC said that the agency shortened the previously recommended quarantine time last week for people if they are open to the virus to five days if they received vaccination shots. It added that Americans who received full vaccination and booster doses might not need to quarantine at all. But the latest guidelines, which came amid another increase in new cases, risked further confusion for people.
U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin Tested Positive for Coronavirus
The United States Defense Department released a statement Sunday that Lloyd Austin, the Defense Secretary tested positive for Coronavirus and is experiencing mild symptoms. On the other hand, the Defense Secretary said he informed the President and his team about his positive test results. His staff members started his contact tracing and testing all those who interacted with him over the last week.
Furthermore, Austin said he met with President Biden on 21st December and tested negative that morning. He clarified that he was last in the Pentagon on Thursday and briefly met limited staff members. They maintained specified social distance and masked their faces properly. Austin announced to stay home for the next five days as per CDC suggested latest guidelines.
In keeping with those directions, and in accordance with CDC guidelines, I will quarantine myself at home for the next five days. Stemming the spread of this virus, safeguarding our workforce, and ensuring my own speedy and safe recovery remain my priorities. 2/7
— Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III (@SecDef) January 3, 2022
The Defense Secretary also touted the benefits of the Coronavirus vaccine by saying that his doctor clarified to him that his full vaccination booster status reduced the infection severeness. He added that the vaccines work efficiently and remain a military medical requirement for his team. Austin also encouraged Americans eligible for a booster dose to receive it. In August, the Pentagon mandated that the United States military service members take all vaccinations shots against the virus.
Omicron and Snowstorms Ground 2600 U.S. Flights
Snowstorms combined with the Omicron variant became the reason for the delay and canceling of hundreds and thousands of flights in the initial days of the new year. The delays disturb air travelers who are returning home from the annual holidays. According to FlightAware’s tracking service, over twenty-six hundred United States flights and over forty-four hundred globally grounded yesterday.
The Sunday cancellations followed Saturday’s cancelation of over twenty-seven American flights and over forty-seven hundred worldwide. 1st January single-day United States toll of grounded flights was the maximum since before Christmas when careers started blaming staffing shortages on mounting Coronavirus infections among crews. On Saturday, the winter storm hit the Midwest, making Chicago the worst place in the U.S for travelers throughout the holiday weekend.
O’Hare Airport officials canceled around a quarter of all flights on Saturday. Likewise, Denver’s airport faced significant disruptions. In Michigan, the Detroit International Airport officials said crew members worked around the clock to remove snow from the runway and maintain the airfield to continue scheduled flights. On the other hand, Atlanta’s airport authority advised passengers to arrive earlier than usual because of the high passenger volume, possible weather conditions, and COVID-19-fueled staffing shortages that may intensify the time it takes to get through security gates.