The recommended isolation time for COVID-19-asymptomatic patients was halved by the United States Health Authorities on Monday. President Joe Biden warned Americans to not panic in light of a rising number of cases that could cause more social disruption.
Biden spoke out about Omicron coronavirus variant rapidly spreading in the US. He said that some hospitals might be “overrun”, however the country is well-prepared to handle the new surge.
Multiple airlines reported Monday that coronavirus continues to disrupt airlines’ busy Christmas holiday schedules. Several airlines said spikes in Omicron variant cases have led to staff shortages.
These recommendations reduce isolation for asymptomatic patients from 10 to 5 days and allow people to return to work sooner. This will minimize the possibility of major labour shortages in key areas of the economy.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) recommendations are not binding but are closely monitored by US policymakers and businesses. Further, the agency suggests that the five-day isolation period should be followed by five days of wearing masks when in close proximity to others.
According to the CDC, the new guidelines were inspired by science. Science had shown that most COVID-19 infection occurs in the early stages of illness. This is usually one to two days before symptoms begin and two to three days afterwards.
Biden spoke at a virtual meeting with the White House, which included several governors of states and top health advisors. He stressed that the Omicron variant would have no impact on the initial COVID-19 outbreak in 2020 or the Delta surge this past year.
He said that Omicron was a concern but not a cause for panic.
Mass vaccinations and testing are more widespread, so many infections don’t result in serious illness.
Omicron is now the dominant strain
Omicron is now the dominant strain in the country. More than 200,000 cases per day were reported over the past two days. This quickly surpasses the January records.
Biden admitted that even though there has been an increase in testing capacity, it is “clearly inadequate”.
He said, “Seeing how difficult it was for some people to pass a test this weekend proves that we have more work ahead of us.”
Biden stated that the administration will soon send 500,000,000 at-home testing kits to Americans in addition to expanding its free testing sites.
Biden stated that if they had known, they would have done more and faster. “We have to do more.”
The United States has the highest number of pandemic deaths worldwide, with 52 million cases and more than 816,000 COVID deaths.
International comparisons can be distorted by differences in reporting methods. However, on a per capita basis the US death rate is lower.
The US has faced fierce resistance from the political world to coronavirus vaccines, which has hampered its response.
Particularly Republicans are resisting the Biden administration’s push to force large-scale businesses to take the shots. Reluctance to receive booster shots has also been seen, mostly from Republican circles.
New York is a strong pro-vaccine bastion, as some of the most severe mandates in the nation went into effect Monday.
Bill de Blasio (Democratic Mayor) ordered that all employees in the private sector be vaccinated.
Anyone 12 years old or older must also show proof of full vaccination in order to eat indoors, as well as enter public places such gyms and cinemas. Children between five and 11 years old will need to present proof of one dose.
Anthony Fauci, White House medical advisor, suggested that domestic air travel could be subject to a vaccination requirement.
He stated that he believes that it was something that should be seriously considered.