What We're Reading: 5-Day Quarantine Guidance; Ban on Surprise Medical Billing; Booster Impact on Global Vaccine Supply

Anthony Fauci, MD, said the CDC is considering changes to its guidance requiring a negative COVID-19 test after 5-day quarantine; bipartisan legislation banning surprise medical billing goes into effect; booster vaccine programs may be limiting global vaccine supply for low- and middle-income countries.

Fauci Says Testing Negative Being Considered After New 5-Day Quarantine

The chief medical advisor to President Joe Biden, Anthony Fauci, MD, said Sunday that the CDC is considering changes to its recent controversial guidance indicating that individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19 do not require a negative test to end isolation after 5 days. Reported by ABC News, the CDC said that the initial change in guidance had been advised by research demonstrating the majority of COVID-19 transmission occurs early in the course of illness–1 to 2 days prior to onset of symptoms and the 2 to 3 days after. Fauci said that a testing component could be implemented at the end of the 5-day quarantine period, with a record number of more than 580,000 US cases of COVID-19 reported last week.

Ban on Suprise Medical Billing Goes into Effect

As reported by The New York Times, the bipartisan legislation banning surprise medical billing took effect this past weekend, in which nearly all emergency medical services and most routine care will now be covered. Adding up to billions in costs for consumers yearly, those undergoing emergency medical care will now no longer be able to be billed extra by out-of-network doctors or hospitals that they did not choose and who did not accept their insurance. Consumers will still be responsible for deductibles or co-payments, but will not be charged more than the cost-sharing amount that has been established for in-network services.

Booster Programs May Limit Global Vaccine Supply

As demand for booster doses of COVID-19 vaccines continue to increase worldwide amid the Omicron variant surge, Biden officials noted that more doses than previously expected could be disproportionately consumed by countries with already high levels of vaccination vs low- and middle-income areas. Reported by POLITICO, global health advocates have cited hope regarding Novavax’s COVID-19 vaccine to help fill the gap in vaccine distribution. However, Novavax has yet to receive regulatory approval by the FDA or other European regulators where its manufacturing sites are located, which may impact its ability to meet distribution targets in 2022.