Delta CEO Asks CDC to Cut Quarantine Period for Breakthrough Covid Cases
The letter proposes that the current recommendation be halved -- from 10 days to five -- on the condition of a negative test.
Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian has asked the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to cut the recommended quarantine period for vaccinated people who test positive for Covid-19 in half, from 10 days to five, saying the current guidelines could negatively impact the company's operations. The letter was posted to Delta's site on Tuesday and was first reported by Reuters.
Delta's letter was addressed to CDC Director Rochelle Walensky and was co-authored by the airline's medical advisor Carlos del Rio and SVP and chief health officer Henry Ting. "At Delta, over 90% of our workforce are fully vaccinated, and those rates are increasing daily," they wrote. "Our employees represent an essential workforce to enable Americans who need to travel domestically and internationally ... With the rapid spread of the Omicron variant, the 10-day isolation for those who are fully vaccinated may significantly impact our workforce and operations."
Delta stated that its nearly fully vaccinated staff is required to wear masks at airports and on airplanes, just as all travelers are. Bastian, del Rio and Ting also said that the CDC's "guidance was developed in 2020 when the pandemic was in a different phase without effective vaccines and treatments." The trio proposed that airline personnel could leave qurantine early, after five days, if they test negative for the virus, and offered to work with the CDC to gather empirical data.
Additionally, the letter states that, per the current data, "Omicron is 25-50% more contagious, and likely less virulent and associated with more mild disease particularly among individuals who are fully vaccinated." The new variant was first reported in the U.S. less than a month ago, and cases have continued to climb rapidly since, leaving many to wonder what the post-holiday season will bring.