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Delta Air Lines Asks CDC To Adjust Guidelines On COVID Breakthrough Infection Quarantine Time

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Delta Air Lines is hoping to change health guidelines to avoid staffing shortages.

Right now, the Centers for Disease Control recommends anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 to isolate for 10 days.

CBS2's Cory James has more on how these guidelines are impacting the travel industry.

In a letter, Delta pleaded for help, asking the CDC to "reconsider the current guideline for 10 days of isolation in fully vaccinated" people who experience "breakthrough COVID-19 infections" and make it a "five-day from symptom onset."

"I still feel like that's fine," traveler Alan Cruz of Atlanta said.

"I'm perfect with that," Chavonn Smith added.


While some passengers support the proposal, others have concerns.

"There's a higher risk that they can give this to other people," said Juan Costa of Hartford, Connecticut.

Travel expert Willis Orlando said many airlines are still recovering after furloughing hundreds and thousands of employees when the pandemic hit, but he told CBS2 that despite there being a lot of worry about the Omicron variant, travel numbers are not declining.

"We've seen 2-plus million people pass through TSA checkpoints for five of the last six days, so airlines need to be robustly staffed right now and this is the best option they've come up with," Orlando said.

The option to reduce the quarantine is still up in the air, as health officials analyze the risks.

"We're actively examining those data now and doing some modeling analyses to assess that," CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said.

"What we want to make sure about is that it will be safe to reduce quarantine or isolation period or both," U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek H. Murthy said.


Meanwhile, airlines like United say they are aggressively looking at staffing requirements.

"If we can't operate efficiently, then it's a bad traveling experience for our customers," said Rodney Cox, United's VP of airport operations.

That's something most travelers would rather avoid.

The CDC said a change on the quarantine period could be made soon.

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