Dr. Anthony Fauci explained Sunday the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is considering amending revised COVID-19 isolation guidelines after pushback from critics who said the updated recommendations were not sufficient.
The CDC updated quarantine guidelines last week for people who test positive for COVID. If asymptomatic, the updated guidelines recommend isolating only five days, while wearing a face mask when around other people for an additional five days. Previously, the agency's guidelines recommended 10 days of isolation.
The amended guidelines applied to all asymptomatic people, regardless of COVID-19 vaccination status.
What did Fauci say?
During two separate interviews on Sunday, Fauci admitted the CDC is considering updating the new guidelines to include a testing requirement after receiving pushback.
"You're right there has been some concern about why we don't ask people at that five-day period to get tested," Fauci told host George Stephanopoulos on ABC News' "This Week."
"That is something that is now under consideration," Fauci explained. "The CDC is very well aware that there has been some pushback about that. Looking at it again, there may be an option in that, that testing could be a part of that, and I think we're going to be hearing more about that in the next day or so from the CDC."
During another interview on CNN's "State of the Union," Fauci made nearly identical remarks.
"I myself feel that that's a reasonable thing to do," he said. "I believe that the CDC soon will be coming out with more clarification of that, since it obviously has generated a number of questions about, at that five-day period, should you or should you not be testing people?"
Fauci's remarks suggesting that a testing requirement makes good sense seemingly contradicts what CDC Director Rochelle Walenksy said just last week when defending the absence of a testing requirement in the updated guidelines.
At a press conference, Walensky explained that PCR tests can remain positive for up to 12 weeks after infection.
"Many are asking why do we not require a test at the end of the five days of isolation for those who are infected. We know that PCR testing would not be helpful in this setting, as people can remain PCR positive for up to 12 weeks after infection and long after they are transmissible and infectious," Walensky said.
"We also don’t know that antigen tests give a good indication of transmissibility at this stage of infection. On the other hand, we know that after five days, people are much less likely to transmit the virus and that masking further reduces that risk. And this is why people need to mask for five days after their five days of isolation," she continued.