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CDC Faces Backlash Over Latest COVID Isolation Guidelines

LC/DC Organizes Protest Against Revised CDC Measures Amid Fear of COVID Repercussions


In Washington, D.C., a populace known for battling the long-term effects of COVID-19, also referred to as ‘long COVID’, is organizing a public demonstration in response to the latest pronouncement from the reputed U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The catalyst for their impending march is a revised recommendation by the CDC which, as of March 1, no longer advises a five-day period of isolation following a positive COVID test result.

Under the new instructions issued by the CDC, individuals experiencing sickness are advised to stay at home. However, they can resume activities such as attending school or work once they recover, and are free of fever for a period of 24-hours. This shift in guidelines has incited a public outcry, led by a group known as LC/DC.

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Identifying as non-partisan, LC/DC has scheduled their demonstration for May 15th at the Lincoln Memorial. It’s clear to them that amending the isolation policy could potentially spark an increase in infections, long-term illnesses, and cases of disability due to COVID-19. In particular, organizer Paul Hennessy articulates their shared concern.

‘It appears that the current context of infectiousness isn’t being regarded, and it’s disconcerting that the altered guidelines are potentially based on misguided assumptions,’ expressed Hennessy, who operates out of Los Angeles. Previously, the CDC had advised people who tested positive for the virus to ‘stay home for at least five days and isolate from others in your home.’

This direction was introduced at the tail end of 2021, marking a shift from their initial recommendation of a 10-day isolation period during the earlier stages of spread. For Hennessy and his associates, they suspect the latest decision by the CDC isn’t necessarily rooted in science.

As Hennessy points out, ‘The CDC’s responsibility lies in proactively providing data-driven, reliable guidance to the populace. It does not lie in negotiating with the pathogen, no matter how deadly its airborne nature.’ Furthermore, he voices his group’s concerns around the timing of this new announcement, ‘We find ourselves questioning if this decision has political undertones, given that it’s an election year.’

LC/DC demands that a revised protocol of 10-day isolation period and two consecutive negative tests is in the best interest of public health. Dara York, a nurse based out of San Francisco who is living with long COVID and also planning the event, noted, ‘It’s a harsh reality, but individuals both with and without vaccination can contract COVID and face post-infection complications, or risk transmitting it to someone more susceptible.’

Apprehensive about the revised CDC guidelines, LC/DC is not only calling for a reinstatement of the five-day isolation rule, but also urging the government to allocate more funding to COVID and long COVID treatment efforts. Hennessy elaborates, ‘Our primary mission is to spread awareness around long COVID, emphasizing the pressing necessity for preventive measures, educational initiatives, and appropriate therapeutic responses.’

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Meanwhile, Dr. Marc Siegel, a practiced clinical professor of medicine at NYU Langone Medical Center and a contributor at Fox News, supports the CDC’s recent change. He asserts, ‘The revision in guidelines is based on the finding that despite high levels of COVID detected in wastewater, case numbers and hospitalizations are significantly lower.’

Siegel also alludes to the agency’s intent to provide a unified set of instructions to address all respiratory viral infections, including influenza, RSV, and COVID. ‘We should note that the pandemic surge has been on a downward trend for several months now, and despite witnessing weekly figures of around 20,000 hospitalizations and 1,500 fatalities at its peak, it continues to decline,’ he says.

As per the latest statistics ending on February 24, the CDC reports that the percentage of administered COVID tests returning positive results stands at 7.4%, marking a 0.6% drop from the prior week. This trend resonates with the claim by Siegel of an ongoing decrease.

Long COVID is a condition characterized by persistent symptoms of the virus for three months or more, ranging from weariness, respiratory complications, and rapid heart rate to cognitive issues often referred to as ‘brain fog’. Based on the CDC’s 2022 National Health Interview Survey, an estimated 18 million Americans have experienced long COVID, with 8.8 million currently dealing with the condition.

Hennessy mentions, ‘We are witnessing prolonged effects of COVID that include not only viral persistence, but also damaged immune systems, organ damage, neurological problems such as accelerated dementia, Parkinson’s, and cardiovascular issues including blood clots.’ Sharing a personal account, he adds, ‘Someone dear to me who was perfectly fit and healthy now suffers from microclots following a recent COVID infection.’

LC/DC-points out the struggle of many in their audience, ‘Many individuals with long COVID within our community are eager to resume work and contribute to society, yet lack the requisite support for such rehabilitation.’ Their demonstration is set to occur at the Lincoln Memorial and will run from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on March 15.

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