This past Sunday morning, Bret Baier, an anchor for Fox News, called out the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Dr. Rochelle Walensky, during an interview. Baier questioned her on if she thought the confusing messages from the CDC concerning COVID-19 had pushed the public to start losing trust in the CDC as a whole.
Walensky, who took part in an interview on “Fox News Sunday” as a means to talk about the most recent data on the current spike in COVID-19 infections, which has been most certainly fueled by the virulent spread of the extremely contagious Omicron variant of the disease, along with the freshly changed guidelines on the testing and subsequent isolation for any persons who have tested positive for the virus or those who are starting to show any symptoms of an infection.
“Dr. Walensky, you mentioned the confusion about the guidance and over the past year, the most recent example is obviously on isolation and testing,” started Baier, making reference to the CDC’s most recent statements about reducing the recommended isolation period after a positive test to 5 days from the original 10 days and outright eliminating the need for a negative test before removing themselves from isolation.
“But other guidance is the mask-wearing, educators being vaccinated before returning to the classroom,” stated Baier. “Before you took this job officially, you emphasized that one of your primary goals was to restore public trust. But in this time, do you think that it’s fair to say that the trust and confidence of the public has gone down with the CDC?”
“Thank you, Bret. You know, this is hard,” returned Walensky. “We have ever-evolving science with an ever-evolving variant, and my job is to provide updated guidance in the context of rapidly rising cases. That is what we’ve done and I am here to explain it to the American people and I’m committed to continuing to do so and to continuing to improve.”
Baier then made it a point to note that despite the newly placed guidance being available, many places such as Georgetown University were ignoring the changes and still zealously adhering to the new ten-day isolation methods even for students who were entirely asymptomatic, along with their relial on testing that lead to false positives stemming from small amounts of dead virus in their system even if the student in question was not infectious at all.
“What you say to the major companies and universities who are ignoring your new guidance and sticking to the ten days isolation or quarantine for asymptomatic people?” Baier questioned.
Walensky stated that the new guidelines were originally meant for the general public, going on to add that bigger corporations and universities should make their own decisions that they believe are best for them. “Many of these universities have kids living in multi-person rooms, so they’re going to have to adapt our guidance for the safety of their congregate settings,” she stated.
“Right, but sticking them in a room for ten days, doesn’t that sound extreme to you?” posited Baier, but Walensky quickly retorted by noting that in “congregate settings” the new guidance may need to be changed to fit their specific situation.
“Our updated guidance actually says you can leave isolation after five days if you can wear your mask all of the time, including being able to eat meals alone so that you are not infecting others while you eat. That may need to be what’s happening in these congregate settings,” she tacked on.
“Okay, so you would send that message to Georgetown, other universities, other companies that are at ten days?” Baier pressed.
“No, what I would say is if you’re in a congregate setting, you have to adapt our guidance for that congregate setting. These guidances were meant for the general public,” answered Walensky.