Evolving CDC Recommendations

January 19, 2022
Evolving CDC Recommendations

I think what I have not conveyed is the uncertainty in a lot of these situations.

Dr. Rochelle Walensky, CDC director, on the evolving COVID-19 guidelines and the CDC’s role in relaying clear information about pandemic protocol.
  • Following another shift in CDC guidelines, Dr. Walensky and CDC officials have faced criticism over the new COVID-19 protocol and their lack of clarity.
  • Omicron has resulted in different CDC guidelines, such as a December 27 recommendation that cut the number of days for isolation from ten to five; the guidelines also recommend wearing a mask for an additional five days to limit likelihood of exposure.
  • These new recommendations, received as vague and confusing by some, are based on emerging papers about previous COVID-19 variants and are evolving as officials become more familiar with Omicron.
  • Dr. Walensky, in an interview with The Wall Street Journal, went on to say that “we felt the need to take action before we had Omicron-specific data." She has also resolved to take on coaching from a media consultant to help improve communication.
  • Something to consider: Dr. Walensky explained that there is a large gap in the collection of public health data; the CDC receives data from state and local hospital systems at inconsistent rates. However, facilities have begun upgrading their electronic record-keeping. As this continues and more health facilities receive proper funding, pertinent data will become available more quickly – which will help policies become up-to-date based on more accurate information.

Why It Matters: The CDC is responsible for establishing and relaying COVID-19 protocol for the entire country. How they communicate evolving guidelines impacts people's ability to return to businesses, healthcare facilities, school, etc.

Check out what our SmartHER News friend, Dr. Rutland, had to say on this topic in our Q&A video.

Find out more about the CDC's guidelines on quarantine and isolation.

by Jenna Lee,