Protest of CDC’s new COVID guidance planned for this month in Washington, DC: ‘Urgent need’


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A community of “long COVID patients and activists are planning a march in Washington, D.C., to protest a recent announcement from the CDC.

On March 1, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) officially dropped its recommendation for people to isolate for five days after a positive COVID test.

The agency’s new guidance tells people to stay home if they are sick — but when they’re feeling better and have been fever-free for 24 hours, they can return to school or work.

CDC DROPS ITS 5-DAY COVID ISOLATION GUIDELINES

In response, a community called LC/DC, which describes itself as non-partisan, is planning a protest at the Lincoln Memorial on March 15.

“LC/DC is fighting to raise awareness about long COVID, and we recognize that reducing the isolation policy will result in more infections, long-term illnesses and disability,” said Paul Hennessy, one of the three main organizers of the planned event.

Lincoln Memorial

A community of “long COVID” patients and activists (not pictured) have planned a march in Washington, D.C., to protest a recent announcement from the CDC about dropping isolation requirements. (iStock)

“Our main objection is that it’s not based on a period of infectiousness, but false assumptions,” Hennessy, who is based in Los Angeles, told Fox News Digital. 

“The CDC has admitted that COVID can be contagious for over 10 days.”

Hennessey added, “The CDC’s job should not be to negotiate with a deadly airborne pathogen, but to give the best proper guidance.”

CDC RECOMMENDS ADDITIONAL COVID VACCINE FOR ADULTS 65 AND OVER

Prior to this most recent update, the CDC called for people who test positive for the virus to “stay home for at least five days and isolate from others in your home,” a recommendation that was implemented in late 2021. 

CDC headquarters

On March 1, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officially dropped its recommendation for people to isolate for five days after a positive COVID test. (REUTERS/Tami Chappell)

At the start of the pandemic, the agency recommended a 10-day isolation period for people with COVID.

Hennessy said the group believes the CDC’s decision could be political. 

“The CDC’s job should not be to negotiate with a deadly airborne pathogen, but to give the best proper guidance.”

It’s not lost on us that the CDC has made this decision during an election year,” he said. “We’re not sure if this decision is political, but we do know from our research and standpoint that this was done arbitrarily and is more grounded in connivance than fact.”

Dara York, a San Francisco-based nurse who has long COVID and is one of the event’s organizers, told Fox News Digital that she believes the CDC is “abandoning” the problems related to COVID.

Woman quarantine

At the start of the pandemic, the CDC recommended a 10-day isolation period for people with COVID. (iStock)

“Reinfections are dangerous,” she said. “There is silent damage in many people. Most don’t even know their symptoms could be long COVID. Doctors and medical staff need training for [the condition].”

The LC/DC group is calling for a 10-day isolation and two negative tests as “best for the health of society.

Said Hennessey, “Unfortunately, vaccinated and unvaccinated people can still get COVID and long COVID or post-COVID complications. Or they can spread it to someone more vulnerable.”

LONG COVID IS HIGHEST IN THESE STATES, SAYS NEW CDC REPORT

In addition to protesting the CDC dropping the five-day isolation guidance, the group is also demanding more government funding for COVID and long COVID treatments. 

Our ultimate goals are to raise awareness for long COVID and stress the urgent need for prevention, education and treatments,” said Hennessy.

“There are no approved treatments for long COVID.”

Doctor reacts to CDC’s decision

Dr. Marc Siegel, clinical professor of medicine at NYU Langone Medical Center and a Fox News medical contributor, voiced his support of the dropped five-day isolation.

Siegel spoke to Mandy Cohen, CDC director, the day before the announcement.

Protest at Lincoln Memorial

In addition to protesting the CDC dropping the five-day isolation guidance, the group (not pictured) is also demanding more government funding for COVID and long COVID treatments.  (iStock)

“The change is based on the fact that, according to Dr. Cohen, though wastewater analysis for COVID is very high, at the same time, case counts and hospitalizations are MUCH lower,” he told Fox News Digital.

“The goal is to have one set of guidelines for all respiratory viruses — flu, RSV, COVID, etc.,” Siegel noted.

SHOULD THE CDC DROP ITS 5-DAY COVID ISOLATION GUIDELINES? DOCTORS WEIGH IN

By the time someone tests positive for COVID, they are most likely at least two days into the illness, according to Cohen — and emerging data shows that the times of greatest transmission are right before symptoms begin and in the first few days of illness.

“The goal is to have one set of guidelines for all respiratory viruses.”

“The pandemic has been over for several months, and though there was an uptick this winter, with over 20,000 hospitalizations and 1,500 deaths per week at one point, it is now diminishing,” said Siegel.

As of the most recently reported week ending Feb. 24, the share of administered COVID tests with positive results was 7.4%, a 0.6% decrease from the prior week, per CDC data.

What is long COVID?

Long COVID is a condition in which symptoms of the virus persist for an extended period of time, generally three months or more.

Those symptoms can include fatigue, respiratory issues, cough, rapid heart rate and neurologic symptoms (sometimes referred to as “brain fog”).

Dr. Marc Siegel

Dr. Marc Siegel, clinical professor of medicine at NYU Langone Medical Center and a Fox News medical contributor, voiced his support of the dropped five-day isolation. (Fox News)

Approximately 18 million Americans reported ever having long COVID and 8.8 million reported having it currently, according to the CDC’s 2022 National Health Interview Survey, which was released in Sept. 2023.

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“We continue to see long-term effects from COVID, including viral persistence, damaged immune systems, organ damage, neurological complications such as dementia progression and Parkinson’s, and cardiovascular issues such as blood clots,” Hennessy said. 

Woman coughing

Symptoms can include fatigue, respiratory issues, cough, rapid heart rate and neurologic symptoms (sometimes referred to as “brain fog”). (iStock)

“Someone I love who was otherwise fit and healthy now has microclots after a recent infection.”

“Those in our group who have long COVID are desperate to get back to work and contribute to society, but don’t have the support they need to do so.”

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The demonstration at Lincoln Memorial will take place on March 15 from 10:30 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Fox News Digital reached out to the CDC and to National Mall and Memorial Parks, which manages the Lincoln Memorial, requesting comment on the planned protest.

For more Health articles, visit www.foxnews.com/health.



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