New data shows people with Omicron variants often remain contagious for more than five days, raising concerns CDC’s Updated Isolation Guidelines,
Why this matters: Experts say the problem could be addressed by using rapid tests to determine whether it’s safe to move out of isolation, but the CDC not recommended A negative test as a condition to terminate the isolation.
Running news: a New study of NBA players and staff — which has yet to be peer-reviewed — found that a large percentage of Omicron-infected people still had viral loads above a certain threshold five days after their first positive test.
- The study used this threshold as a proxy for infectivity and to trigger a positive antigen test.
- This suggests that a large proportion of Omicron infections will still be contagious by day 5.
What are they saying: “Key Take-away = Ending isolation at Day 5 Must include a negative rapid antigen test. Otherwise isolation needs to be extended,” Nathan Grubaugh tweeted, a Yale professor and an author of the study.
- “Why do all the work to identify infections if we let them go back to work even if they are potentially contagious?”
big picture: The data adds to the growing anecdotal evidence – in the form of positive antigen tests prior to the recommended isolation period – that there is no guarantee that a person is not infectious after five days.
- CDC does recommend that people who leave isolation after five days wear masks around others.
yes but: There is at least one highly practical argument for allowing people to leave isolation (with masks) after five days: so many Americans are infected right now that it threatens basic social functions for all of them to stay at home. .
- And there is a paucity of rapid tests, given the surge in demand for them, which means recommending people to use them to leave isolation could fall flat if no tests are found.