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Dr. Anthony Fauci, Senior Medical Advisor to President Biden, commends New York officials for reducing the number of days health care workers are required to remain in quarantine after contracting COVID-19.
The state announced on Christmas Eve that fully vaccinated health workers and other key employees can go back to work five days after a positive coronavirus test if they meet certain safety standards. Before that, they had to stay outside for 10 days.
“You need the health care workers. And if you have them out for the whole 10 days and do this across a large number of people, you can have a situation where you really don’t have enough health care workers,” Fauci said MediaFrolics Morning edition On Monday.
“I think that’s something we’re going to consider,” added Fauci beyond New York.
Public health officials have feared that the highly contagious variant of Omicron, while capable of causing milder illnesses, could again overwhelm hospitals with the sheer number of patients who get sick.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last week updated their guidelines for health care workers with COVID-19, saying they could return to work after seven days if they were asymptomatic and had a negative test.
“As the healthcare sector prepares for an expected increase in patient numbers from Omicron, CDC is updating our recommendations to reflect our knowledge of infections and exposure related to vaccinations and booster doses,” said CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky then.
Fauci said easing quarantine guidelines for the general population was “being considered,” but added that the government is currently focused on getting key workers back into work.
Fauci also said during an interview on MSNBCs Tomorrow Joe that it “would be reasonable to consider compulsory vaccination for domestic flights”. He indicated that such mandates already exist for some colleges and jobs and that this could help increase the number of Americans receiving the injection.
“Making vaccinations compulsory is another incentive to get more people vaccinated,” said Fauci. “If you want to do that on domestic flights, I think that should be seriously considered.”
A version of this story originally appeared in Morning edition Live blog.