Former acting CDC director warns of 'dilemmas' with COVID test kits

Dr. Richard Besser says a five-day isolation will be great for most people with omicron

Former acting CDC director Dr. Richard Besser offered guidance on "Mornings with Maria" about new testing and quarantine guidelines as the omicron variant surges. 


DR. RICHARD BESSER: The rapid tests are very good at identifying people who are contagious, who are infectious. PCR as you’re saying can remain positive for 90 days even if you’re not spreading it to anyone else so that’s not a very good test to use. In a perfect world if we had enough test kits to go around and for everyone to have as many as they want, testing people at the end of five days and recognizing that some people will still be able to spread, the number goes down each day. But being able to identify those people who are safe to go back to work, the kids can stay in school, would be a really good thing. I think one of the dilemmas is, we don't have enough test kits to be able to implement that widely to ensure that everyone has the access to those kits and I think that's the challenge in terms of saying five days is going to be great for most people in terms of how long they need to isolate. But, there are going to be some people that can spread. Can we identify those people in a way that is effective and safe and doesn’t deplete our full testing capacity?