Lack of testing requirement in CDC’s COVID guidance not because of short provide, Dr. Walensky says

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The CDC’s new COVID-19 tips are drawing some criticism from medical specialists for not requiring a damaging check for asymptomatic sufferers to depart isolation. Some have speculated the shortage of a testing requirement is because of a short provide of checks in the U.S.

But CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky stated Wednesday that is 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 stated on “CBS Mornings,” explaining that it is unclear if fast antigen checks present helpful data later in the an infection interval.

The new guidance says individuals who check optimistic for COVID-19, however don’t have any signs, can depart isolation after 5 days with out testing once more. They ought to put on a masks for the subsequent 5 days, the CDC stated. 

“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,” Walensky stated. “And then mask for the rest of the time to capture that last 10% to 15%.”

On why a damaging check is not required to depart isolation, Walensky stated PCR checks would “not be viable” because they will detect remnants of the virus for as much as 12 weeks, even after an individual is now not contagious.

As for antigen checks, that are much less delicate than PCR, medical specialists do not know if they will decide if somebody will transmit the virus towards the tip of a interval of an infection, Walensky stated.

“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 when somebody checks damaging with an antigen check after 5 days of isolation, the CDC would nonetheless urge them to put on a masks to forestall potential unfold.

“Since it wasn’t going to make a difference in our recommendations, we did not recommend an antigen at that period of time,” Walensky stated.

However, she stated antigen checks are “absolutely” really helpful for people who’re uncovered to somebody who has COVID-19. They ought to check 5 days after publicity or in the event that they get signs, the CDC advises. 

Experts weigh dangers of new CDC coverage

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Dr. Celine Gounder, an infectious illness specialist at NYU and Bellevue hospitals, criticized the FDA for not additional assessing antigen checks.

“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,” Gounder stated Wednesday on “CBS Mornings.” “They’ve had two years and have been dragging their feet for two years.” 

Gounder additionally famous that the U.S. does not presently have sufficient fast antigen checks and stated she believes that’s “driving the decision not to include [testing] as part of the protocol.” 

At-home antigen checks are extensively out there at no cost in the U.Ok., and the Biden administration has vowed to ramp up provides and distribute free checks in the U.S. in the approaching weeks.

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