Fauci: CDC considering COVID testing requirement for asymptomatic patients

WASHINGTON (AP), -- The COVID-19 Omicron variant is exploding across the United States. Federal health officials are considering adding a negative test to the five-day isolation restrictions that the COVID-19 coronavirus has placed on asymptomatic Americans, according to the White House's top medical advisor.

Fauci: CDC considering COVID testing requirement for asymptomatic patients

Dr. Anthony Fauci stated that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has now considered including the negative test in its guidance following significant backlash to its revised recommendations last week.

The Dec. 27 guidance reduced isolation restrictions for COVID-19-infected people from 10 to 5 days, if they no longer feel symptoms or run a fever. They are then asked to wear a mask for five days if they are around others.

Many health professionals have criticized the guidelines for not requiring a negative antigen test to be able to leave isolation.

Fauci stated that there has been some concern over why people are not asked to be tested within the five-day period. "Reviewing it again, there might be an option in that. That testing could be a component of that. I believe we'll be hearing more from the CDC in the next 24 hours."

Fauci, the country's leading expert on infectious diseases, stated that the U.S. has seen almost a "vertical rise" in new cases. The average daily number of cases is now 400,000, with an increase in hospitalizations.

He stated that "We are certainly in the middle of an extremely severe surge and uptick, in cases." "The rate of cases has increased exponentially, which is far beyond what we have seen in the past," he said.

Fauci stated that he is concerned about the impact of the omicron version on the health care system, as well as the "major disruption" to other services.

Fauci stated that major disruptions will cause stress to the system. This is because people who have any type of job, particularly those with vital jobs, are likely to be affected. We already know from reports that fire departments and police departments in different cities have reported that 10-20% of people are sick. It's something I hope doesn't happen."

This surging variant is ravaging American life and other parts of the workforce.

The pandemic and wintry weather were responsible for Sunday's grounded flights of more than 2,500 U.S. airlines and over 4,100 around the world. Many colleges in the United States are moving classes online for the remainder of the semester. Some warn that it could get longer if the pandemic doesn't stop soon. Many companies that allowed office workers to work remotely, but were hoping to have their employees back in the office by 2022, have now delayed these plans.

On Sunday, the White House Correspondents Association announced that the number allowed to enter the briefing room during the first few weeks in 2011 would be reduced due to concerns about the virus. The daily briefing usually has 49 journalists, but the restrictions will limit the number to 14 reporters. Although the White House had limited the capacity of the briefing room during the pandemic, it returned to full capacity by June 2021.

Although there is some evidence that omicron may cause less severe illnesses, Fauci cautioned that it's still early days. Fauci expressed concern about the millions of Americans who are not vaccinated because "a fair amount of them will get severe diseases."

He encouraged Americans to get vaccinated, boosted and to stay indoors to prevent the current surge in U.S. cases.

According to the Food and Drug Administration, preliminary research suggests that at-home rapid tests can detect omicron. However, it may be less sensitive. It noted that it is still investigating how the tests work with this variant, which was first detected in November.

Fauci stated that Americans should not be misled into believing these tests are useless.

Fauci stated that "I believe the confusion is that rapid-antigen tests have never had as sensitive as the PCR" test. They are very effective when given in sequence. They are just as good as PCR if they are repeated a couple of times in a short time. They aren't as sensitive as single tests.

A PCR test must usually be performed in a laboratory. This test is designed to detect the virus's genetic material. It then replicates it millions of time until it can be detected with a computer.

Fauci stated that Americans could see some return to normality if they take the necessary precautions.

Fauci stated that one of the things they hope for is that the thing will peak in a few weeks, then turn around. Fauci expressed the hope that omicron would drop to a level below which it wouldn't disrupt society, economy, or our way of living by February or March.

Fauci spoke on ABC's “This Week” and CNN's “State of the Union.”

Updated Date: 05 January 2022, 12:30

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