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The Atlantic: America’s COVID-19 Rules are a Dumpster Fire

From The Atlantic: On Tuesday, the CDC officially dropped the detailed, 1,800-word version of its new isolation guidance for people who have been infected by the coronavirus. If you’re overwhelmed, you’re not the only one. In the week and a half since the CDC said that it was planning to update its isolation guidance, I’ve heard almost exclusively harsh reactions from experts, who have criticized the recommendations as convoluted, wishy-washy, and even unscientific. But several experts told me they suspected that certain logistical hurdles might have factored in. A vaccination clause, for example, would have added yet more complexity. Not all vaccinated people will reach the same level of protection; anti-infection defenses also naturally ebb over time, while new variants throw certain dynamics into flux. The agency is yet again punting the responsibility of infection control to the masses; allowing people’s fates to splinter by timing, by testing, by … whatever is hardly good incentive for the public to read the instructions, much less follow them to a T. At a time when Omicron cases are already shattering records nationwide, the costs of muddled messaging are extraordinarily high. I asked Alison Buttenheim, who studies the intersection of vaccines and human behavior at the University of Pennsylvania, if she thought people would just give up on trying to parse the guidelines and simply improvise their own end-of-isolation rules. “I think people already have,” she said. Read the full story in The Atlantic. 

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