Delta calls on CDC to remove quarantine guidelines for Covid breakthrough, citing impact on workforce

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Delta Air Lines planes at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL) in Atlanta, Georgia, United States on Tuesday, December 21, 2021.

Elie Nouvelage | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian on Tuesday asked the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to halve the recommended quarantine time for vaccinated people who contract Covid-19, saying the current isolation period could negatively affect airline operations.

Bastian has written to CDC director Rochelle Walensky proposing a recommended five-day quarantine period for fully vaccinated people who contract Covid. The current recommendation provides for a 10-day isolation period.

“Our employees represent a vital workforce to enable Americans who need to travel within the country and abroad,” wrote Bastian, as well as airline health official Henry Ting. and medical adviser Carlos del Rio. “With the rapid spread of the omicron variant, the 10-day isolation for those who are fully vaccinated can have a significant impact on our workforce and operations.”

The letter comes as Covid cases increase and the heavily mutated omicron variant spreads rapidly, straining testing supplies ahead of the year-end vacation.

Bastian, del Rio and Ting argued that the CDC’s guidelines were drawn up “in 2020, when the pandemic was in a different phase without vaccines or effective treatments.” Executives suggested that individuals could end the isolation period sooner provided they test negative for Covid.

“As part of this policy change, we would be interested in partnering with the CDC and collecting empirical data,” they wrote in the letter, which Delta posted on its website and which was previously reported by Reuters. . The CDC did not immediately return a request for comment.

Delta said about 90% of its staff are fully vaccinated and noted that all airline staff, such as travelers, are required to wear masks at airports and on commercial airplanes.


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