And, just days before the CDC announced the change, the airline industry has united to push for a shortened quarantine period, saying a 10-day isolation requirement could “exacerbate staff shortages and create significant disruption to our workforce and operations ”. Indeed, U.S. airlines have had a spate of flight cancellations as the busy vacation travel season crashed into the rise of the virulent Omicron variant.
“As an industry, we are ready to partner with the CDC to make science-based policy decisions and to work with you to collect the empirical data needed to appropriately monitor any changes to the guidelines,” said Nicholas Calio, President and CEO of Airlines for America. CDC Director Rochelle Walensky.
Delta Air Lines, the first to request a move to a five-day quarantine period, also noted that current guidelines “were developed in 2020 when the pandemic was in a different phase without effective vaccines or treatments.”
Although their messages to the administration peaked last week, airlines have been pushing to shape Covid-19 quarantine protocols for much longer.
For months, this awareness has cast a wide net from Congress to the President’s Executive Office. According to publicly available information, Airlines for America – whose members include the largest U.S. airlines as well as freight giants FedEx and UPS – have reported contacts with the CDC, the president’s executive office, Congress and agencies. federal authorities on Covid-19 quarantines, among other issues, over the past three quarters.
Earlier this year, UPS lobbied Congress and federal agencies, including the Federal Aviation Administration, to exempt crew members from quarantine and testing requirements. Hawaiian Airlines and American Airlines have also reported contacts with the president’s executive office, Congress and federal agencies on a host of issues, including quarantines. Atlas Air Holdings in the world, which steals much of Amazon’s cargo, and United Airlines has lobbied the House and Senate.
The updated CDC guidelines shortened the recommended isolation time for all people with asymptomatic cases of Covid, vaccinated or not, saying the change was “driven by science showing that the majority of SARS transmission- CoV-2 occurs early in the illness, usually within 1-2 days before symptoms appear and 2-3 days after. ”The agency has also shortened the quarantine period for people exposed to Covid .