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JetBlue joins Delta, asks CDC to reduce omicron isolation guidelines

Dec. 23, 2021
4 min read
JetBlue joins Delta, asks CDC to reduce omicron isolation guidelines
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JetBlue on Wednesday became the second airline to ask the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to reduce the amount of time that vaccinated people who test positive for COVID-19 are required to isolate.

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In a letter to the CDC, JetBlue CEO Robin Hayes argued that the current guidance —which require all vaccinated and unvaccinated people who test positive for COVID-19 to isolate for ten days following the onset of symptoms, or, in the case of asymptomatic cases, the first positive test result — is out of date and based on the limited information that the CDC had earlier in the pandemic.

"Today, we have a much better understanding of this disease and have groundbreaking vaccines and treatment options available to fight this virus," Hayes wrote, citing evidence in recent weeks suggesting that vaccinated people who become infected by the virus, including the omicron variant, are likely contagious for shorter periods of time.

Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian, along with the airline’s chief health officer Dr. Harry Ting and medical advisor Dr. Carlos del Rio, wrote a similar letter to the CDC on Tuesday.

"Today, the vast majority of JetBlue’s Crewmembers are vaccinated and like so many others are being relied upon by the American public for providing the essential service of travel," Hayes wrote. "Healthcare workers, first responders, airline professionals and many other essential employees across the economy who are fully vaccinated may no longer need a full 10-day isolation."

Unlike Delta CEO Ed Bastian, Hayes stopped short of asking the CDC to adopt a specific new guideline, simply asking that the current rules be reconsidered.

The Delta letter asked the CDC to adopt a five-day isolation period.

Both Hayes and Bastian cited the possibility of operational disruptions caused by the isolation guidelines, arguing that non-infectious employees could remain sidelined for an unnecessary period of time thanks to the spread of the omicron variant, which the CDC this week said makes up nearly three-quarters of current COVID-19 cases nationwide.

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"We can safely mitigate disruption to our essential services and further economic harm during this Omicron wave by reducing the isolation period, from the start of symptoms, for those who are fully vaccinated and suffering from a breakthrough infection," Hayes wrote. "JetBlue fully supports calls for CDC to reconsider the current guidance."

Related: As omicron spreads, here’s what you need to know about traveling during the holidays

Dr. Anthony Fauci told CNN this week that the CDC was considering reducing the isolation period for fully vaccinated individuals. Some evidence suggests that the omicron variant has a shorter incubation period and infectious period among fully vaccinated people, and causes more mild disease.

Cases of COVID-19 have skyrocketed across the U.S. in recent weeks with both the delta and omicron variants spreading as we head into winter. Although the delta variant made up 99.5% of cases as recently as the end of November, the omicron variant has surged in recent weeks and now makes up 73% of U.S. cases, the CDC said Monday.

Featured image by Photo by David Slotnick/The Points Guy
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
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    Earn 80,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $6,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership.

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    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

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Why We Chose It

Sometimes it's worth a large investment to reap the benefits of a great credit card. That's exactly the case with the Amex Platinum card. In exchange for the annual fee, you'll unlock access to the Amex Membership Rewards program that let you access airline and hotel transfer partners, along with new lifestyle and travel credits. This card is also incredibly rewarding for travel purchases, helping you rack up a ton of Membership Rewards points for your next award trip.

Pros

  • The current welcome offer on this card is quite lucrative. TPG values it at $1,600.
  • This card comes with a long list of benefits, including access to Centurion Lounges, complimentary elite status with Hilton and Marriott, at least $500 in assorted annual statement credits and so much more. (Enrollment required for select benefits.)
  • The Amex Platinum comes with access to a premium concierge service that can help you with everything from booking hard-to-get reservations to finding destination guides to help you plan out your next getaway.

Cons

  • The high annual fee is only worth it if you’re taking full advantage of the card’s benefits. Seldom travelers may not get enough value to warrant the cost.
  • Outside of the current welcome bonus, you’re only earning higher rewards on specific airfare and hotel purchases, so it’s not a great card for other spending categories.
  • The annual airline fee statement credit can be complicated to take advantage of compared to the broader travel credits offered by competing premium cards.
  • Earn 80,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $6,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership. Apply and select your preferred metal Card design: classic Platinum Card®, Platinum x Kehinde Wiley, or Platinum x Julie Mehretu.
  • Earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year and earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel.
  • Get $200 back in statement credits each year on prepaid Fine Hotels + Resorts® or The Hotel Collection bookings, which requires a minimum two-night stay, through American Express Travel when you pay with your Platinum Card®.
  • $240 Digital Entertainment Credit: Get up to $20 back each month on eligible purchases made with your Platinum Card® on one or more of the following: Audible, Disney+, The Disney Bundle, ESPN+, Hulu, Peacock, SiriusXM, and The New York Times. Enrollment required.
  • $155 Walmart+ Credit: Cover the cost of a $12.95 monthly Walmart+ membership with a statement credit after you pay for Walmart+ each month with your Platinum Card. Cost includes $12.95 plus applicable local sales tax. Plus Ups are excluded.
  • American Express has expanded The Centurion® Network to include 40+ Centurion Lounge and Studio locations worldwide. There are even more places your Platinum Card® can get you complimentary entry and exclusive perks.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit: Get up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one select qualifying airline.
  • $200 Uber Cash: Enjoy Uber VIP status and up to $200 in Uber savings on rides or eats orders in the US annually. Uber Cash and Uber VIP status is available to Basic Card Member only.
  • Get up to $300 back per calendar year on the Equinox+ digital fitness app, or eligible Equinox club memberships when you pay with your Platinum Card. Enrollment required. Learn more.
  • Breeze through security with CLEAR® lanes available at 100+ airports, stadiums, and entertainment venues and get up to $189 back per calendar year on your membership when you use your Card. Learn more.
  • $695 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees