In the wake of a botched Ebola inoculation, Sara Nelson questions what her union really thinks about the Centers for Disease Control. Should she be worried?
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Sara Nelson, the powerful president of the Association of Flight Attendants, slammed the CDC’s integrity, alleging that the agency bowed to pressure by reducing COVID-19 quarantine standards from ten to five days.
During a New Year’s Day appearance with MSNBC, Nelson claimed the CDC changed its decision after significant lobbying by Delta Air Lines chief Ed Bastian and other aviation-related firms in response to the unfolding crisis of canceled flights throughout the globe.
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“The issue is that this was done at the request of Delta Air Lines and other corporations who were complaining about staffing shortages,” Nelson added, referring to the abnormally high number of sick calls from airline employees infected with the Omicron strain. “So it significantly hurts the CDC’s credibility.”
On December 23, airlines throughout the globe started experiencing a series of delays and cancellations, owing in part to staffing shortages and in part to weather-related concerns. More than 10,000 flights have been canceled and almost 50,000 have been delayed so far, leaving airlines in a vulnerable and humiliating position for the Christmas holiday.
The CDC agreed on December 27 to lower the prescribed quarantine and isolation time to five days if asymptomatic, followed by five days of wearing a mask while among others, thanks to Bastian and Delta’s efforts.
The CDC’s guidance is based on data that shows the bulk of SARS-CoV-2 transmission happens early in the disease, usually one to two days before symptoms appear and two to three days thereafter.
Returning workers in half the time benefits the airlines, but it does not benefit the general population, according to Nelson.
“There will be individuals who are still contagious,” Nelson said, “and airlines and other corporations will be pressuring people to return to work before they are ready, before they feel well.” “Because we don’t have a test component to this, we’re really urging airlines to go above and beyond the CDC’s basic advice.” Because if we keep doing this, we’ll be sending contagious individuals back into the workplace, into our aircraft, into our communities, and this epidemic will go even farther.”