Flight Attendants Union Blasts CDC, Why They’re Right.

3 min readDec 30, 2021


CDC revised their guidelines a week after Delta Airlines lobbied them. Meanwhile infections jumped over 543,000 in one day.

Photo by Olga Kononenko on Unsplash

The CDC is once again caving to pressure from large industries by putting profits over public safety. Their recent decision to shorten the quarantine period from ten days to just five days is leaving a lot of other scientists dumbfounded and baffled as to why they would shorten it during a surge. What was the reason? Delta Airlines.

On December 21st the CEO of Delta Airlines Ed Bastian submitted a letter to the Centers for Disease Control that was very strange and unusual. The letter began by acknowledging that the Omicron variant was rapidly spreading and because of that “the 10-day isolation period for those who are fully vaccinated may severely impact our workforce and operations.” The operations would be alluding to the billion-dollar industry that wants more profit even if the outcome leads to higher infections and breakthrough cases. Their main argument is that it is less infectious and based on that alone “we propose a 5-day isolation period from the symptom onset for those who experience a breakthrough infection.”

But there is a major flaw with this argument. The WHO recommends that you can infect others with Omicron for 7–10 days which is why they and most other countries have not shortened the quarantine period. Point number two is that breakthrough cases are on the rise and with only half the world and fully vaccinated this will contribute to more cases skyrocketing as Omicron circulates around the globe. Even among people who are triple vaccinated breakthrough cases are surging.

“For the unvaccinated, the data doesn’t really back up that you become non-infectious after five days…I’m quite worried about these new recommendations.” — Brown University’s Associate Dean of Public Health Dr. Megan Ranney

Doctors and Flight Attendants Are Concerned

In a CNN interview Doctor Megan Ranney acknowledged that while the new guidelines largely applied to vaccinated individuals “the data doesn’t really back up that you become non-infectious after five days” and expressed her concern about the new guidelines. And she was not the only one raising concerns about the CDC changes. UMass Darthmouth Biology Professor Erin Bromage said that there was “absolutely no data that I’m aware of” to support the switch in guidelines and that people can be infectious with this variant for as long as eight days.

Sarah Nelson head of the Association of Flight Attendants expressed her concern about infecting more people. “The problem is that we are admitting that we’re going to put infectious people back into the workplace or on our planes,” and Nelson has urged the Airline industry to adopt a longer quarantine duration to ensure flight attendants and customers are not infected with the Omicron variant. This variant can infect others for as long as eight days three days more than the new relaxed CDC guidelines.

She also pointed out that relaxing the guidelines too early during a surge has led to confusion and in some cases outbursts among passengers. “That is the last thing we need” is uncertainty she told NPR. And she is right as this viral video of a Delta Airlines flight from Tampa to Atlanta shows two unmasked individuals fighting putting other passengers and flight attendants at risk of catching this new strain.




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