Progressive ideologues voiced outrage this week after the Biden administration relaxed quarantine requirements for people who test positive for COVID-19.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced new guidance on Monday that people who test positive for COVID should isolate themselves for only five days — down from the agency’s previous requirement of 10 days.
Specifically amid the latest wave of COVID infections, businesses have experienced pressure from a significant increase of employees who have become sick with COVID and are thus being forced to stay home for two weeks.
What was the reaction?
People angry over the updated guidelines charged that the Biden administration made the change to appease corporate interests. Accusers cited Delta Air Lines, which has suffered staffing issues and therefore canceled flights due to sick staff members in recent weeks.
Some of the most circulated accusations included:
- Jemele Hill: "For example, every media outlet should include that Delta CEO Ed Bastain asked the CDC to reduce the recommended quarantine time from 10 days to 5 for vaccinated people because of workforce impact. That’s not a health decision. The media needs to frame it that way every time."
- Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.): ".@CDCgov is saying 'we need people back to work quicker even if they are still sick.' Is this based on public health and science? Or is this in response to corporations like Delta who asked for shorter times? ... Public health decisions should be purely based on public health, not the needs of CEOs."
- Dr. Eric Feigl-Ding: "I suspect Delta Airlines have way more influence than they should because they are based in Atlanta (CDC hq)… Delta shouldn’t be able to lobby the CDC like this!!"
- Judah Friedlander: "Congrats to the Airline CEOs on being appointed head of @CDCgov. I always get medical advice from Airline CEOs. Glad the @CDCgov is listening to them."
- Don Winslow: "Dear @CDCgov and @CDCDirector You don't work for Delta Airlines. You should not do what their CEO ask you to do. This wasn't a health decision. It was a political one. You have made a serious mistake here."
- Russell Foster (D-Texas): "So we find out that Delta CEO Ed Bastain asked the CDC to reduce the recommended quarantine time from 10 days to 5 for vaccinated people because of workforce impact. This change has nothing to do with the virus or your health & everything to do with the profits of corporations."
- Jesse Jae Hoon: "If you're wondering which scientist the CDC is basing their decision to halve the quarantine time from 10 to 5 days on, it's… Delta CEO Ed Bastian."
What is Delta's role?
Delta CEO Ed Bastian did, in fact, write to CDC Director Rochelle Walensky last week asking her to cut the quarantine requirement from 10 days to five days for vaccinated people who experience a breakthrough COVID infection.
"With the rapid spread of the Omicron variant, the 10-day isolation for those who are fully vaccinated may significantly impact our workforce and operations," Bastian wrote. "Similar to healthcare, police, fire, and public transportation workforces, the Omicron surge may exacerbate shortages and create significant disruptions."
But what did the CDC say?
Walensky confirmed Wednesday that her agency altered quarantine guidelines based on what public health officials believe Americans can tolerate — not corporate interests.
"It really had a lot to do with what we thought people would be able to tolerate," Walensky said on CNN.