The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is taking criticism for its new, relaxed COVID-19 guidelines, which call for a shorter period of isolation for infected workers — reducing the period from 10 days to five, as long as the person is asymptomatic and wears a mask for the remaining five days. The move comes as the highly contagious omicron variant of the virus is setting pandemic records across the country.
Some health experts said the decision took them by surprise, while others accused the CDC of following not science but rather the demands of capitalism. Even Dr. Anthony Fauci admitted that the decision was made because "we want to get people back to jobs — particularly those with essential jobs to keep our society running smoothly."
Among those unconvinced is the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS), which issued a statement on Wednesday saying that it would hold off on implementing the guidelines pending a review. On Wednesday, the state broke a pandemic record with 25,858 new reported cases.
The department says it's also awaiting additional information from the CDC, "specifically for special populations and in high-risk settings."
"Michigan continues to experience high rates of transmission and has several tools to further prevent the spread of COVID-19," MDHHS said in a statement. "The delta variant has already fueled the current surge in COVID cases and hospitalizations. The high transmissibility of the omicron variant underscores the importance of Michiganders practicing the COVID mitigation practices that are known to reduce spread and risk. Ensuring that as many Michiganders as possible are vaccinated is the best protection available against additional variants of concern and reduces the strain on hospitals."
MDHSS encouraged Michiganders to continue to wear masks and get vaccinated.
"More than 70% of Michiganders ages 16 and older have received their first dose of the safe and effective COVID-19, and we thank them for getting vaccinated to protect themselves and others, but we have further progress to make," MDHHS said. "As more individuals are vaccinated, it is less likely that the virus will circulate and mutate, avoiding the development of more transmissible and vaccine-resistant variants in the future."
MDHHS is maintaining Michigan's current recommendations — if you test positive for COVID-19, isolate for 10 days since the test or when symptoms first appeared.
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