(Headline USA) As the COVID-19 omicron variant surges across the United States, top federal health officials are looking to add a negative test along with its five-day isolation restrictions for asymptomatic Americans who catch the coronavirus, the White House’s top medical adviser said Sunday.
Anthony Fauci said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is now considering including the negative test as part of its guidance after getting significant “pushback” on its updated recommendations last week.
Under that Dec. 27 guidance, isolation restrictions for people infected with COVID-19 were shortened from 10 days to five days if they are no longer feeling symptoms or running a fever. After that period, they are asked to spend the following five days wearing a mask when around others.
The agency all but admitted that its considerations were larely politically driven and not taking best practices for health into account.
The guidelines have since received criticism from many health professionals for not specifying a negative antigen test as a requirement for leaving isolation.
“There has been some concern about why we don’t ask people at that five-day period to get tested,” Fauci said. “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.”
Meanwhile, the Food and Drug Administration appeared to discourage recovered patients from testing, with so-called health experts claiming that they were uncertain about the transmissibility of omicron after testing negative.
The FDA last week said preliminary research indicates at-home rapid tests detect omicron, but may have reduced sensitivity. The agency noted it’s still studying how the tests perform with the variant, which was first detected 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 tests have never been as sensitive as the PCR test,” Fauci said.
“They’re very good when they are given sequentially,” he said. “So if you do them like maybe two or three times over a few-day period, at the end of the day, they are as good as the PCR. But as a single test, they are not as sensitive.”
Fauci, the Biden administration’s leading COVID czar, said the U.S. has been seeing almost a “vertical increase” of new cases, now averaging 400,000 cases a day, with hospitalizations also up.
“We are definitely in the middle of a very severe surge and uptick in cases,” he said. “The acceleration of cases that we’ve seen is really unprecedented, gone well beyond anything we’ve seen before.”
Fauci said he’s concerned that the omicron variant is overwhelming the health care system and causing a “major disruption” on other essential services. However, all evidence suggests that the true cause of stress on the health care system is related to the enforcement of vaccine mandates, which forced many front-line workers to resign or be fired.
Although the same has been true of other first responders, Fauci claimed that it was omicron that was leading to shortages in law-enforcement and related fields, not the sustained attack waged by the Left as it sought to defund police departments and stigmatize the entire profession.
“When I say major disruptions, you’re certainly going to see stresses on the system and the system being people with any kind of jobs … particularly with critical jobs to keep society functioning normally,” Fauci said.
“We already know that there are reports from fire departments, from police departments in different cities that 10, 20, 25 and sometimes 30% of the people are ill,” he said, possibly referring to vaccine resisters who have taken a leave of absence and others who claim post-traumati stress disorter realated to 2020’s monthslong race riots.
“That’s something that we need to be concerned about, because we want to make sure that we don’t have such an impact on society that there really is a disruption,” Fauci said. “I hope that doesn’t happen.”
The surging variant is working in tandem with the Biden administration’s failed policies to ravage other sectors of the workforce and American life.
Wintry weather combined with the pandemic were blamed for Sunday’s grounding of more than 2,500 U.S. flights and more than 4,100 worldwide, although yet again, vaccine mandates were the primary culprit.
Meanwhile dozens of overly woke and liability averse U.S. colleges were moving classes online again for at least the first week or so of the semester—and some warn it could stretch longer if the wave of infection doesn’t subside soon.
Many woke companies that had been allowing office workers to work remotely but that were planning to return to the office early in 2022 have further delayed those plans.
The White House also used it as pretense to prevent further media scrutiny of its own actions.
The White House Correspondents’ Association announced on Sunday that the number of journalists allowed in the briefing room for at least the first few weeks of the year would be scaled back because of concerns about the fast-spreading virus.
Typically 49 reporters have seats for the daily briefing, but only 14 reporters will be seated under the restrictions. The White House limited capacity in the briefing room early in the pandemic but returned to full capacity in June 2021.
While there is “accumulating evidence” that omicron might lead to less severe illness, Fauci said he worries in particular about the tens of millions of unvaccinated Americans because “a fair number of them are going to get severe disease.”
However, some studies have indicated that it the disease is spreading more readily among the vaccinated than the unvaxxed.
Fauci said if Americans take the necessary precautions, the U.S. might see some semblance of more normal life returning soon—a frequent trope in his gaslighting and that of other Biden administration officials, who have yet to deliver on those longstanding promises.
“One of the things that we hope for is that this thing will peak after a period of a few weeks and turn around,” Fauci claimed.
He expressed hope that by February or March, omicron could fall to a low enough level “that it doesn’t disrupt our society, our economy, our way of life.”
The very presense of omicron may, indeed, be a signal that the deadly COVID-19 pandemic may be weakening. Omicron antibodies appear to be good at fighting other strains—notably the deadliner delta variant.
As a result, those who contract the fast-spreading but mild omicron are more likely to develop COVID antibodies, which may be the most effective form of immunity as the disease continues to grow weaker but more vaccine resistant.
Adapted from reporting by the Associated Press