The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officially shortened the amount of time those who have tested positive with Covid-19 must isolate themselves. Federal health officials announced on Monday that their new recommendation is to isolate for five days instead of ten.
The updated recommendation comes as the Omicron variant surges across the country, setting records for new infections per day.
Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the director of the CDC, said that the new guidelines “balance what we know about the spread of the virus and the protection provided by vaccination and booster doses. These updates ensure people can safely continue their daily lives.”
The seven-day national average for new daily cases shot past 214,000 on Sunday– an 83% increase in two weeks.
President Joe Biden held a conference call with the country’s governors on Monday where he plainly stated that:
“There is no federal solution,” adding that “This gets solved at the state level.”
“Ultimately it gets down to where the rubber meets the road, and that’s where the patient is in need of help or preventing the need for help.”
Omicron hits airlines hard
The wave of Omicron infections has massively affected daily life in the US, causing many retail stores, restaurants, and airlines to be understaffed.
Tens of thousands of Christmas weekend travelers had to change their plans.
Commercial airlines canceled 656 flights within, into or out of the US on Sunday, slightly down from nearly 1,000 from Christmas Day and nearly 700 on Christmas Eve, according to the flight-tracking website FlightAware.com.
The Christmas holidays are typically a peak time for air travel, but the rapid spread of the Omicron variant has led to a sharp increase in Covid infections, forcing airlines to cancel flights with pilots and crew needing to be quarantined.
Delta Air Lines expected more than 300 of its flights to be canceled on Sunday.
“Winter weather in portions of the US and the Omicron variant continued to impact Delta’s holiday weekend flight schedule,” a spokesperson said, adding that the company was working to “reroute and substitute aircraft and crews to get customers where they need to be as quickly and safely as possible.”
“The nationwide spike in Omicron cases this week has had a direct impact on our flight crews and the people who run our operation,” said a United Airlines memo obtained by CNN.
United canceled 201 flights on Friday, representing 10% of its total schedule, and 238 flights on Saturday, representing 12% of its schedule, according to flight-tracking site FlightAware.