On Sunday, Dr. Anthony Fauci said that the CDC could recommend asymptomatic people test negative to end isolation for COVID-19 after five days.
His comments come after the CDC updated its recommended isolation policy for people with COVID-19 from 10 days to five days. The recommendation stands as long as they don’t have any virus symptoms. The CDC also recommends wearing a mask around other people for an additional five days.
Many leaders and businesses criticized the policy change, implying the CDC designed the new rules to support business and prevent staffing shortages rather than keeping employees safe.
However, the comments from Dr. Fauci contradict information shared by the CDC director in interviews about the guidelines last week in major media outlets.
“There has been some concern about why we don’t ask people at that five-day period to get tested. That is something that is now under consideration,” Fauci told ABC News.
Fauci told ABC News that testing could soon be included in the CDC’s updated isolation recommendation.
According to Fauci, the CDC was aware of the pushback about the change in isolation guidance. He went on to tell ABC News that the CDC could announce an update in the next couple of days.
In a later interview with CNN, Fauci said it was “reasonable” to test asymptomatic people at the end of their quarantine.
Fauci’s comments on Sunday come as a contrast to information provided by CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky, who told CNN last week that the FDA did not approve testing for use in individuals after the initial infection period from COVID-19.
In her statement to CNN, she said, “Rapid Tests and PCR tests may show a positive result for up to 12 weeks after an initial infection of COVID-19.”
The CDC recently made the change, recommending that a release from quarantine early would be “relatively low risk” because the likelihood of passing the virus is lower in the last five days of the 10-day isolation period.
“There’s no doubt that you do want to get people out into the workplace if they are without symptoms. There’s a big picture of trying to do it in a way that is scientifically sound, but that also gets people back to work,” Fauci told CNN.