According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 441,000 new Covid19 jobs and cases were reported in the United States on Monday, a significant increase from the previous daily record of roughly 300,000 cases reported in early January.
Because reporting lags after weekends and holidays, it's possible that newly reported cases don't represent the entire picture. Many people also rely on rapid at-home tests, the results of which, unlike PCR tests, are not automatically reported to health departments.
According to CDC jobs data, the seven-day daily average of new cases is approaching an all-time high. Other databases, such as one at The New York Times, show that the United States has already set a new record with an average of over 260,000 infections reported each day.’
On Wednesday, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky stated that the rapid increase in cases is due in large part to the highly transmissible omicron variant.
“In a few short weeks omicron has rapidly increased across the country, and we expect it will continue to circulate in the coming weeks,” Walensky said during a press briefing.
Monday's new case record came on the same day that the CDC reduced its recommended isolation period for people who have no symptoms or whose symptoms are resolving from 10 days to five days, prompting criticism from some experts. Walensky has defended the guidance, telling CNN jobs the change “really had a lot to do with what we thought people would be able to tolerate.”
Experts criticized the guidance for not including any testing recommendations and for using ambiguous language. Former Surgeon General Jerome Adams stated that individuals should test negative on an antigen test before leaving isolation or quarantine.
“I love the CDC,” Adams, who served under the Trump administration, tweeted. “Grew up wanting to work there and have been one of their most ardent defenders. I never dreamed the day would come when I would advise people NOT to follow their guidance.”
The guidance states: “If you have no symptoms or your symptoms are resolving after 5 days, you can leave your house.” But it doesn’t offer any details on what “resolving” symptoms could look like, except to say that “if you have a fever, continue to stay home until your fever resolves.”
“This is where clearer wording would be helpful,” tweeted Ashish Jha, dean of the Brown University School of Public Health, adding that the phrase “symptoms are resolving” is “way too vague.”