Fauci: CDC considers adding Covid-19 test to asymptomatic guidelines

Washington – As the Covid-19 omicron variant grows across the United States, top federal health officials are seeking to add a negative test along with their five-day isolation restrictions for asymptomatic Americans who catch the coronavirus, the White House’s top medical adviser said House on Sunday. .

Dr Anthony Fauci said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is now considering including the negative test as part of its guidance after receiving significant “pushback” on its updated recommendations last week.

Under that guidance of December 27, isolation restrictions for people infected with Covid-19 were shortened from 10 days to five days when they no longer feel symptoms or fever. After that period, they are asked to wear a mask for the next five days if they are around others.

The guidelines have since been criticized by many health professionals for not specifying a negative antigen test as a requirement for leaving isolation.

“There has been some concern about why we do not ask people to test during that five-day period,” Fauci said. “If I look at it again, there might be an option that tests could be part of that, and I think we’ll hear from the CDC the next day or so.”

Fauci, the nation’s best expert on infectious diseases, said the U.S. has seen almost a “vertical increase” in new cases, now averaging 400,000 cases per day, with hospitals also rising.

“We are definitely in the middle of a very difficult rise and rise in cases,” he said. “The acceleration of cases we’ve seen is incredible, far above anything we’ve seen before.”

Fauci said he feared the omicron variant would overwhelm the healthcare system and cause a “major disruption” to other essential services.

“When I say major disruption, you will be sure that stress on the system and the system will see people with any kind of jobs … especially with critical jobs to make society function normally,” Fauci said. “We already know that there are reports from fire brigades, from police services in various cities that 10, 20, 25 and sometimes 30% of the people are sick. And we have to worry about that, because we want to make sure that we do not have such an impact on society that there really is a disturbance. I hope that does not happen. “

While there is “accumulating evidence” that omicron may lead to less serious illness, he warned that the data remains premature. Fauci said he was particularly concerned about the tens of millions of unvaccinated Americans, because “a considerable number of them will get serious illness.”

He urged Americans who have not yet been vaccinated and encouraged to do so and to mask inside to protect themselves and stunt the current increase in American cases.

The Food and Drug Administration said last week that preliminary research indicates that rapid tests at home detect omicron, but the sensitivity may have diminished. The bureau noted that it is still studying how the tests perform with the variant, which was first discovered in late November.

Fauci said Americans “should not get the impression that those tests are not valuable.”

“I think the confusion is that rapid antigen testing has never been as sensitive as the PCR test,” Fauci said. “They are very good if they are given sequentially. So if you do them maybe two or three times in a few days, they are as good as the PCR at the end of the day, but as one test they are not so good. sensitive.

A PCR test should normally be processed in a laboratory. The test looks for the genetic material of the virus and then reproduces it millions of times until it can be detected on a computer.

Fauci said if Americans take the necessary precautions, the US may see some semblance of more normal life return soon.

“One of these things we hope for is that this thing will peak and turn around after a period of a few weeks,” Fauci said. He expressed hope that omicron could fall to a low enough level in February and March “that it would not disrupt our society, our economy, our way of life.”

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

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