Delta Air Lines (NYSE: DAL) CEO Ed Bastian has asked the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to reduce its recommended quarantine period for vaccinated individuals that contract Covid-19, after disclosing that the current isolation time may negatively impact the carrier. Moreover, the company warned that it is experiencing labor shortages as well as “significant” operational issues amid the fast-spreading omicron variant.
Bastian wrote a letter to CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky, proposing a five-day recommended quarantine period for those fully vaccinated that become infected. The current recommendation entails a 10-day quarantine period.
“Our employees represent an essential workforce to enable Americans who need to travel domestically and internationally,” wrote Bastian, along with the airline’s chief health officer Henry Ting and medical advisor Carlos del Rio. “With the rapid spread of the omicron variant, the 10-day isolation for those who are fully vaccinated may significantly impact our workforce and operations.”
The company’s request comes as Covid cases continuously rise, putting a strain on testing supplies amid the holiday season.
Bastian, del Rio, and Ting questioned the CDC guidance which was implemented “in 2020 when the pandemic was in a different phase without effective vaccines and treatments.” The executives argued that people could have a shorter isolation period upon a negative Covid test.
“As part of this policy change, we would be interested to partner with CDC and collect empirical data,” they wrote in the letter, which the carrier published on its website. The CDC has yet to respond to comment.