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President Joe Biden‘s chief medical advisor says White House officials are mulling shortening the 10-day isolation window for fully-vaccinated people infected with COVID-19.

Reducing the timeframe is ‘being discussed,’ particularly in the context of healthcare workers, Dr. Anthony Fauci said Wednesday, hours after England reduced its quarantine from 10 days to seven. 

‘If you get a healthcare worker who’s infected and without any symptoms at all, you don’t want to keep that person out of work too very long, particularly if you get a run on hospital beds and the need for healthcare personal,’ Fauci told CNN‘s New Day.

‘That’s something that at least will be considered.’ Fauci did not say how much he was considering cutting the isolation period by.

His comments came after England on Wednesday announced it would shorten its mandatory isolation period from 10 to seven days for infected people who test negative on days six and seven. 

Earlier this week, other infectious disease experts also put out a call for relaxed quarantine measures as the seemingly unstoppable Omicron variant drives a new wave of infections throughout the nation.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released data Monday night showing that the highly infectious variant now accounts for 73 percent of U.S. Covid cases

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released data Monday night showing that the highly infectious variant now accounts for 73 percent of U.S. Covid cases

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released data Monday night showing that the highly infectious variant now accounts for 73 percent of U.S. Covid cases

Dr. Anthony Fauci (right) told CNN that White House officials are mulling shortening the 10-day isolation window for fully-vaccinated people infected with COVID-19

Dr. Anthony Fauci (right) told CNN that White House officials are mulling shortening the 10-day isolation window for fully-vaccinated people infected with COVID-19

Dr. Anthony Fauci (right) told CNN that White House officials are mulling shortening the 10-day isolation window for fully-vaccinated people infected with COVID-19

Health officials earlier this week put out a warning about the Omicron variant, which is now the nation’s dominant Covid strain, with infections doubling every few days.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released data Monday night showing that the highly infectious variant now accounts for 73 percent of U.S. Covid cases. 

In five states including New York and New Jersey, Omicron accounts for 90 per cent of all new COVID infections.  

Though it’s believed to be milder, the variant also appears more contagious, meaning it could knock critical healthcare employees out of the workforce during a time of tremendous demand.

Fauci said a shortened isolation window for infected Americans could help ease the burden.

‘The possibility [is] if you do have someone who’s infected, rather than keeping them out for seven to 10 days, if they are without symptoms, put an N95 mask on them, make sure they have the proper PPE and they might be able to get back to work sooner than the full length of the quarantine period,’ he said. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released data Monday night showing that the highly-infectious Omicron variant now accounts for 73 percent of U.S. Covid cases

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released data Monday night showing that the highly-infectious Omicron variant now accounts for 73 percent of U.S. Covid cases

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released data Monday night showing that the highly-infectious Omicron variant now accounts for 73 percent of U.S. Covid cases

It's not the nation's most dominant variant and is driving the last wave of Covid infections

It's not the nation's most dominant variant and is driving the last wave of Covid infections

It’s not the nation’s most dominant variant and is driving the last wave of Covid infections

The latest crush of Covid cases has hit New York particularly hard.

Dozens of restaurants and businesses across New York City are closing their doors ahead of the Christmas holiday after the Big Apple became overwhelmed by the virus.

Following SantaCon celebrations during the weekend, the city logged a record 21,908 cases – a slight increase over the previous record of 21,027 cases reported the day before – and in response, a host of eateries have closed.

At least 50 restaurants have closed across New York City’s five boroughs, including Boilermaker in Manhattan’s Lower East Side, whose Sippin’ Santa annual holiday pop-up cocktail bar is a seasonal favorite.

Several popular Broadway plays were also thrown into major crises ahead of the holidays – Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Hamilton, and Tina: The Tina Turner Musical, which all canceled shows due to the Covid outbreak.

Ain’t Too Proud, Ms Doubtfire, Freestyle Love Supreme and Wicked also canceled upcoming performances due to positive Covid cases among actors and stagehands.

Broadway is facing a major crisis ahead of the holidays after most of its shows canceled upcoming performances due to surges in cases among cast and production staff

Broadway is facing a major crisis ahead of the holidays after most of its shows canceled upcoming performances due to surges in cases among cast and production staff

Broadway is facing a major crisis ahead of the holidays after most of its shows canceled upcoming performances due to surges in cases among cast and production staff

At least 50 restaurants have closed across New York City's five boroughs, including Raoul's in Manhattan's Soho neighborhood (pictured). The shut-downs came following the city's record 21,908 cases after a weekend of SantaCon celebrations

At least 50 restaurants have closed across New York City's five boroughs, including Raoul's in Manhattan's Soho neighborhood (pictured). The shut-downs came following the city's record 21,908 cases after a weekend of SantaCon celebrations

At least 50 restaurants have closed across New York City’s five boroughs, including Raoul’s in Manhattan’s Soho neighborhood (pictured). The shut-downs came following the city’s record 21,908 cases after a weekend of SantaCon celebrations

Meantime, New York City is seeing such a mad rush of people wanting to get a COVID test as that some people are waiting four days to get PCR test results back.

Popular urgent care chain CityMD says it will close 13 of its clinics on Wednesday because it simply cannot keep up with the demand for COVID tests.  

In his Tuesday address to the nation on Omicron, President Joe Biden made an attempt to ease frustrations over the long test lines by stating the obvious to Americans already waiting in lines of up to six hours at already overwhelmed clinics: that you could find a testing site by searching ‘COVID test near me’ on Google.

‘We have arranged for it to be easier for you to find a free COVID testing site near you on Google. Just enter ‘COVID test near me’ in the Google search bar and you could find a number of locations nearby where you could get tested,’ he said.

Dr. Michael Osterholm, director of the University of Minnesota‘s Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy, told DailyMail.com on Monday that with cases snowballing, it could be time to consider slashing the CDC‘s current recommended 10-day isolation period for infected essential workers.  

‘We’re going to need these people back in the workforce desperately,’ Osterholm told DailyMail.com. ‘The point is, we may even have at look at the cost and benefit to society, of having someone who may be infectious or low-level infectious, putting an N95 respirator on them and letting them work because that is going to still have a better outcome for patients than somebody not being there at all.

Dr. Michael Osterholm says Americans should expect a 'viral blizzard' in coming weeks

Dr. Michael Osterholm says Americans should expect a 'viral blizzard' in coming weeks

Dr. Michael Osterholm says Americans should expect a ‘viral blizzard’ in coming weeks

‘I mean, what is it like to try to run a hospital ward with 40 patients, when you have no one there to help?’ 

He added that quarantine periods for others should also be reduced to seven days to keep the economy moving since the Omicron variant appears to have a shorter lifespan.

Osterholm said allowing infected essential workers back to work – equipped with protective equipment – could be necessary. Experts say upward of 30 percent of healthcare workers could become infected with Omicron, which appears to have a smaller window of infection.

‘This virus is transmitting so readily that you know, many, many people in our communities will be infected, whether you’re vaccinated or not,’ he said. 

‘Now, the key feature here, though, is that if you are fully vaccinated – and I call that the three dose, vaccine approach – then your likelihood of having severe disease hospitalization or death drops dramatically. That’s really important. ‘

The United Kingdom’s government reduced its previous 10-day quarantine rule for infected Britons to a week amid fears Omicron will cripple the economy. 

Health chiefs have announced those who test positive for Covid can be released after seven days, rather than 10, providing they take two tests at the end of that period.

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) said infected patients can take the tests 24 hours apart on day six and seven of their isolation period, which if negative means they can stop quarantining.

Experts say allowing healthcare workers exhibiting mild Covid symptoms back to the workforce could be necessary to avoid overwhelming the system

Experts say allowing healthcare workers exhibiting mild Covid symptoms back to the workforce could be necessary to avoid overwhelming the system

Experts say allowing healthcare workers exhibiting mild Covid symptoms back to the workforce could be necessary to avoid overwhelming the system 

The U.S. reached a startling milestone in its fight against the new Omicron variant during the weekend, when confirmed cases passed 1,000 – although the true figure now likely lies in the tens or hundreds of thousands. 

There were 221 cases recorded between Sunday and early Monday morning. The country has now joined a dubious group of five countries with more than 1,000 cases of the new variant, reaching 1,079 as of Monday morning. 

On Monday night, the United States saw its first confirmed Omicron death, a Houston man in his 50s with underlying health conditions who hadn’t been vaccinated and who had previously recovered from an earlier COVID infection.  

The CDC’s current isolation guidelines say infected Americans should stay home alone for 10 days

The CDC says isolation is used to separate people infected with COVID-19 from those who are not infected.

People who are in isolation are required to stay home until it’s safe for them to be around others. 

At home, anyone sick or infected should separate from others, stay in a specific ‘sick room’ or area, and use a separate bathroom if possible.

To calculate the 10 full day isolation period, day zero is considered the first day of symptoms. 

Day one is the first full day after symptoms developed.

For those who tested positive for COVID-19 without symptoms, day zero is the day the test was taken and day one is the first full day afterward.

If the person develops symptoms after testing positive, the 10-day isolation period resets. 

Day zero is marked by the first day of symptoms, and day one is the first full day after your symptoms developed.

 Source: CDC

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The nation is averaging 20,082 new cases per day, a decrease from last week when over 23,000 cases were being reported daily. 

On Sunday, outgoing National Institutes of Health (NIH) director Dr. Francis Collins warned the US could see one million COVID-19 cases per day.

Collins’ forecast came as the highly-contagious Omicron iteration spreads like wildfire throughout the nation and the Delta variant continues to sicken masses of people ahead of the winter holidays.

During the week ending December 18, 127,692 overall cases were reported on average throughout the US, but Collins warned that figure could swell to one million per day.

‘We cannot afford to let down our guard,’ Collins told NPR. 

‘Even if it has a somewhat lower risk of severity, we could be having a million cases a day if we’re not really attentive to all of those mitigation strategies.’

On average, 1,290 people have died from the virus daily during the past week; the virus has killed more than 800,000 Americans since the pandemic began.

More than 50.8 million others have contracted the virus. 

The CDC recommends a 10-day isolation period for those infected with the virus and a 14-day quarantine for non-vaccinated people who’ve been in contact with infected people for more than 15 minutes throughout a 24-hour period. 

Fully-vaccinated people aren’t expected to quarantine after exposure unless they’re showing symptoms and even if they aren’t, the CDC recommends testing within five to seven days after exposure. 

Dr. Ashish Jha, dean of Brown University’s Public School of Health, said America has come a long way since the pandemic took hold in March 2020. 

He said vaccinations and masks have helped tremendously, and that it’s no longer necessary to shut schools or the economy to manage the pandemic. 

‘People should understand the goal cannot be  to avoid infection at all cost,’ he told Good Morning America. ‘That’s an unrealistic goal. The goal should be prevent deaths and severe illness, which vaccines will do, keep our hospitals from getting crushed, which again vaccines and testing can help with. 

‘This is very contagious, lots of Americans will end up getting it,’ he said. 

‘Let’s just make sure they don’t get very sick from it.’

Dr. Ashish Jha, dean of Brown University's Public School of health, said America has come a long way since the pandemic took hold in March 2020

Dr. Ashish Jha, dean of Brown University's Public School of health, said America has come a long way since the pandemic took hold in March 2020

Dr. Ashish Jha, dean of Brown University’s Public School of health, said America has come a long way since the pandemic took hold in March 2020

Pictured: Travelers wait in line for screening near a sign for a COVID-19 testing site at the Los Angeles International airport on November 24

Pictured: Travelers wait in line for screening near a sign for a COVID-19 testing site at the Los Angeles International airport on November 24

Pictured: Travelers wait in line for screening near a sign for a COVID-19 testing site at the Los Angeles International airport on November 24

He said that while COVID-19 will likely be around next winter as well, Americans will continue to get better at managing the virus. 

‘This winter is so much better than last year, and I expect the next one will be so much better than this year,’ he said.  

Separately, California tightened its testing rules last week, requiring unvaccinated people attending indoor or outdoor ‘mega-events’ to show a negative antigen test within one day or a negative PCR test within two days.

Californians previously had a testing three-day window.

The state also announced new rules for the workplace, requiring unvaccinated workers exposed to the virus to self-isolate for 14 days beginning January 14 and lasting through April 14. 

The rule also applies to vaccinated workers, although those who are asymptomatic  can instead choose to social distance and wear a mask.

 

Companies are obliged to make free COVID tests available to employees.

California Chamber of Commerce policy advocate Robert Moutrie told CalMatters he’s worried about how the rules might effect the economy.

‘We have serious concerns about the implications of those changes, both in a world where rapid COVID-19 tests are becoming less available and where excluding more workers from the workplace – who are showing no symptoms and have been vaccinated – is going to make operational difficulties for many employers in California who are already short-staffed and struggling with a labor shortage.’

Conversely, Worksafe executive director Stephen Knight said California was making the right call.

‘Unfortunately, vaccination is not immunity, and vaccination doesn’t mean you can’t spread the disease,’ he told the outlet.

Source: dailymail

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