Friday, Aug. 28
I work in leadership at my church, and when COVID came, we went online. For a few months, I was the layperson at the service, and five of us streamed the service to the web.
One day, one of the people in our service came in, and did not know their teenager had COVID. We were not in close contact, and the next day we were told that we had been in the five-person service with someone who had COVID. What should we do?
The people whose child had COVID were probable contacts, and they should isolate until 14 days after the last probable contact. We, who were at the service, were not probable contacts.
You could say we were second-order contacts. We were in loose contact with someone who was a probable contact. What is the right thing to do?
The answer is nothing. We just monitor for symptoms as we always do.
Now, the parents got tested. If they came back positive, we would also be contacts, and if we were in close proximity to them for 15 minutes or longer, we would be recommended to isolate for 14 days. The parents came back negative, and it was all a big scare.
Why is all this relevant now? The CDC just changed guidance on probable contacts. They recommend isolation, but no longer recommend testing.
The net effect of this change would be for probably contacts who get infected but are asymptomatic.
Now, second order contacts will not become first order contacts unless the first order contact develops symptoms and tests positive.
An asymptomatic is not recommended to go get testing.
In a pandemic in which 30 percent of those infected are both infectious and asymptomatic, the expected result of this change will be a temporary reduction in COVID new cases, and longer term a decrease in our ability to suppress growth of infection.
We will no longer be able to trace the contacts of asymptomatic contacts who are infected.
Infectious disease specialists of all flavors, epidemiologists, doctors, and PhDs, have uniformly criticized the changes, and the CDC has been unable to provide an infectious disease rationale for the change.
Just another day in a pandemic.