CDC changes isolation exit guidelines in the US because PCR tests are “flawed”

CDC changes isolation exit guidelines in the US because PCR tests are "flawed"

CDC changes isolation exit guidelines in the US because PCR tests are "flawed". Credit: Twitter

CDC changes isolation exit guidelines in the US because PCR tests are “flawed”.

THE Centre for Disease Control (CDC) has changed the exit guidelines for Covid isolation in the US because PCR tests “can stay positive for up to 12 weeks”, according to CDC Director Dr Rochelle Walensky. Some people are now attacking the PCR test for being “flawed”.

Speaking on Good Morning America on Wednesday, December 29, Walensky said that the newly updated CDC guidelines now don’t require testing at the end of isolation because “we would have people in isolation for a very long time if we were relying on PCRs,” Walensky said.

This announcement has caused a stir and some outrage on social media, with political commentator Yossi Gestetner tweeting: “This means that for the past 21 months, people sat home for extra days and weeks because their test came back with an irrelevant positive. We didn’t know this 6, 12, 18 months ago? Really?”.

Congressional candidate Robby Starbuck wrote: “I’m old enough to remember when we were called conspiracy theorists for telling people that PCR tests were terribly unreliable. 2 years later the CDC finally caught up and acknowledged reality.”

“Hundreds of billions of dollars lost in the U.S. economy, millions with mental health issues locked away for months at a time all because, until now, the CDC was too afraid to admit PCR tests are flawed,” politico Daniel Bostic added.

Walensky also addressed recent data collected by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that suggested rapid antigen tests may be less sensitive when it comes to the Omicron variant.

“We do know that the most sensitive test you can do is a PCR test,” Walensky said. “So if you have symptoms and you have a negative antigen test, we do ask you to go and get a PCR to make sure those symptoms are not attributable to COVID.”

The 52-year-old said that in places where people are being regularly tested, such as schools tests, these do work “quite well”.

“They may not work as well as they have for the delta variant,” Walensky said, but “we still are encouraging their use.”

The news comes after the CDC also shortened the recommended isolation time for asymptomatic people who test positive for COVID-19.

Now, anyone – regardless of vaccination status – who tests positive for COVID-19 and is asymptomatic, should isolate themselves for at least five days, down from 10 days, the CDC said.

If you continue to have no symptoms after five days, the CDC states that you may leave isolation if you “continue to mask for five days to minimise the risk of infecting others.”

The change in guidance is based on data that shows that “the majority of COVID-19 transmission occurs early in the course of illness, generally in the 1-2 days prior to the onset of symptoms and the 2-3 days after,” according to the CDC.

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Written by

Matthew Roscoe

Originally from the UK, Matthew is based on the Costa Blanca and is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at