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Fauci and Walensky face Senate criticism over confusing COVID guidelines

Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) criticized Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky and White House medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci on Tuesday over their messaging about the COVID-19 pandemic, The Washington Post reported.

"It's no wonder that the American people are confused," said Burr, the ranking Republican on the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions.

Fauci and Walensky were on Capitol Hill Tuesday to testify about the federal response to the Omicron variant. 

The Post notes that after the CDC advised shortening the quarantine periods for people exposed to the virus, just "days later, Fauci said the agency may soon add a testing component to that guidance. But when the guidance was updated, it didn't include a testing requirement."

Even the American Medical Association blasted the latest guidelines, releasing a statement in which AMA President Gerald E. Harmon said the recommendations "are not only confusing, but are risking further spread of the virus."

Lawmakers hearing Tuesday's testimony seemed to agree. "The communication efforts are a mess and have only made things worse … I'm at the end of my rope." Burr said. "No one's paying attention to the message from this administration right now."

Rapidly changing CDC guidelines have even become a meme. Newsweek posted a collection, including tweets joking that the CDC "now recommends eating straight off the floor at Waffle House" and that the CDC "says it's now okay for healthcare workers to stick forks into electrical outlets."