The American Medical Association condemns the critical decision of the Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention regarding the dismissal of a negative test after quarantine and isolation.
AMA’s president, Gerald Harmon, emphasized that a negative test should be non-negotiable for those coming out from isolation. This comment comes after CDC updated their guidelines for isolation into just five days for asymptomatic people.
Harmon pointed out that the new recommendations are confusing and they increase the risk of the further spread of the virus. Physicians all over the country have expressed their concern that with the recent surges of infections, the healthcare system is not far from being overloaded.
Harmon cautioned that with the new guideline of ending isolation after a mere five days with no negative test coupled with hundreds of thousands of new cases every day, the worst-case scenario would be hundreds of thousands of people returning to work and school infectious without their knowledge.
The recent surges are pinpointed to come from the omicron variant. First identified in South Africa during Thanksgiving, cases have increased exponentially worldwide. The unprecedented high volume of infections has led the CDC to reassess its guidelines to avoid more infections and keep society functional.
While CDC changed its guidelines last Dec. 27, it only released its rationale on Jan.4. They addressed the criticism they received from federal officials and medical experts and maintained their position that asymptomatic individuals no longer need a negative test to go back to their normal lives.
The updated isolation guidelines are not limited to adults but cover children as well. However, they stressed that the same policies do not apply to healthcare settings, correctional institutions, or homeless shelters. The aforementioned facilities require stricter guidance and thus, coronavirus testing is mandatory.
For the rest of the general populace, in lieu of a negative test result after isolation, the CDC recommended that after quarantining for five days, they should wear well-fitting masks in public and at home for an additional five days.