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Recommendation Explanations

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is struggling to make and communicate recommendations based on limited data, the New York Times reports.

It notes that the CDC in typical times is a slow-moving federal agency that pores over data before making recommendations, an approach that has been upended by the COVID-19 pandemic and the fast emergence of SARS-CoV-2 variants. As the agency has tried to speed its response, the Times says it has led to confusing recommendations, such as the recent change in recommended isolation time after infection from 10 days to five days, if not symptomatic, which critics said had little supporting evidence. The guidelines further said a test was not needed to leave isolation.

Former CDC Director Thomas Frieden tells the Times that the new isolation recommendations are "basically correct." But he adds that "the problem is, they were not explained."

The Times says that that CDC Director Rochelle Walensky has since appeared at news briefings to better communicate the reason for the change. It reported earlier this month that Walensky said at one that the change was "grounded in science" and a review of when people were most infectious, though that she noted much of the data was from earlier variants, not Omicron.