By watering down COVID self-isolation period, CDC defers to commerce
Taken from Salon.com
By Bob Hennely
December 30, 2021
The CDC’s decision to halve the self-isolation period for COVID-positive healthcare workers and the rest of the essential workforce is being roundly condemned by the unions that represent that workforce and the occupational health experts they trust.
The policy, which does not even require a negative test to return to work, was called “reckless” by public health experts interviewed by the Boston Globe.
Curiously, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reduced the quarantine requirement from ten days to five after a few notable worker shortages. First, there was the cancellation of thousands of flights due to worker shortages starting before Christmas, which made major news headlines. But in the background lurks widespread healthcare worker shortages throughout the nation, which have occurred as tens of thousands of essential workers were sidelined due to infection with the hyper-contagious omicron variant.
For front-line unions, the CDC’s kowtowing to business interests is merely one in a long line of examples of the CDC’s expedient disregard for workers. Early on, the nation’s leading public health agency notoriously instructed nurses to ignore their training on infectious disease control and reuse their N-95 masks for days at a time.
At the time, the nurses’ unions predicted three things would happen: their members would get sick, many would die, and the hospitals would themselves become vectors for the virus. All three things happened.
Scroll forward to May of this year, when the CDC decided to lift the universal mask mandate for the vaccinated in indoor public places. The same nurse unions, joined by frontline retail worker unions, begged the CDC to reconsider. They rightly pointed out that too much of the country was unvaccinated; that vaccinated people could still transmit the virus; and that the CDC’s mandate change, which occurred under the guise of “open[ing] the economy,” would actually help spawn more variants.
These frontline experts, whose lived on-the-job experience is consistently ignored by public health bureaucrats, warned that the lifting of the universal mask mandate promoted a false sense of invincibility for the general public and the obscuring of the key medical reality that vaccinated people can transmit the virus.
What happened next?
In no time at all, the delta variant got traction and in a matter of weeks, the CDC was revisiting the issue — suggesting even the vaccinated consider masking up after consulting their local county’s transmission rate.
Now, the same agency that has consistently ignored the healthcare unions wants to ensure the nation’s hospital have sufficient COVID-fodder and bodies in the sky to keep America flying at any price. And so, it appears they have calculated that the aggregate risk of spreading COVID by radically reducing the quarantine time for these essential workers is worth taking if it keeps the hospitals and the airports humming.