Former FDA Commissioner: People with COVID Who Isolate for 5 Days, Go Back into Public on Day 6 and Are Still Infectious Are ‘Not Driving the Pandemic’

By Melanie Arter | January 10, 2022 | 10:59am EST
 With one member of the family testing positive for the rapidly spreading Omicron variant of COVID, a household under quarantine prepares for a quiet Christmas holiday without friends or extended family, December 24, 2021 in Brooklyn, New York. (Photo by Andrew Lichtenstein/Corbis via Getty Images)
With one member of the family testing positive for the rapidly spreading Omicron variant of COVID, a household under quarantine prepares for a quiet Christmas holiday without friends or extended family, December 24, 2021 in Brooklyn, New York. (Photo by Andrew Lichtenstein/Corbis via Getty Images)

(CNSNews.com) – Former FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb told CBS’s “Face the Nation” on Sunday that people who test positive for COVID, isolate for five days and go back into the public on the sixth day, while some may still be infectious, “they’re not driving the pandemic.”

“So, the CDC guidelines -- we've talked about this for years now -- they continue to be changing. They continue to be murky. Can you help -- if I tick through some of these basics, can you help give us some clarity here? The U.K. says 10 to 13 percent of people will still be infectious from COVID on day six. On day six in the United States, the CDC says you can go back to work, you can go back to school, but they tell you don't go to a restaurant and don't travel. What do you do on day six, Doctor?” host Margaret Brennan said.


“Look, the CDC'S guidance recommended that you wear a mask for five days after your isolation period, recognizing that a certain cohort of people are still going to be showing the virus,” the former FDA commissioner said.

“I think what underlies the CDC recommendation there is a recognition that this is an epidemic that's not being instigated, spread, if you will, by people who get diagnosed, isolate for five days, and go back into public circulation day six. While a certain percentage of them will still be infectious, they're not driving the pandemic,” Gottlieb said.

“What's driving the pandemic right now is the fact that we're probably only diagnosing somewhere between one IN five and one in 10 actual infections, and there's a lot of people walking around with mild illness or asymptomatic infection who don't know it who are spreading it,” he said.

“So, if you start from that premise, and if CDC was sort of up front about that premise, what it really tells you is that, if you're -- if you're someone who's isolated for five days, and, on day six, you're going to go back to work, you need to be mindful of what the setting is that you're reintroducing yourself into,” Gottlieb said.

“Are you taking care of people who are vulnerable at home? Are you going into a health care setting or another setting where there's vulnerable people? And, if you are, you need to be more vigilant. Maybe use a diagnostic test to make sure you're no longer shedding virus. You certainly wear a mask in that circumstance,” he said.

“But I think, if CDC was more granular, more descriptive in what they were actually doing and why, and the fact that they recognize that there's going to be a certain number of people who are infectious, people could take more actions on their own,” the former FDA commissioner said.

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