CDC recommends shorter COVID quarantine, isolation for all


NEW YORK (AP) – U.S. health officials on Monday cut quarantine restrictions on Americans with coronavirus from 10 to five days, and similarly shortened the length of time those in contact close friends need to be isolated.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officials say the guidance is consistent with growing evidence that people with coronavirus are most contagious two days before and three days after symptoms develop. .

The decision was also driven by the recent increase in COVID-19 cases, fueled by the omicron variant.

Early research suggests that omicrons may cause milder illnesses than earlier versions of the coronavirus. However, the sheer number of people infected – and therefore quarantined or isolated – threatens to destroy the ability of hospitals, airlines and other businesses to stay open, experts say. know.

CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said the country is about to see more omicron cases.

“Not all of those cases turned out to be serious. In fact, many people will have no symptoms,” she told The Associated Press on Monday. “We want to make sure there’s a mechanism by which we can safely continue to keep society functioning while following the science.”

Last week, the agency relaxed rules that had previously called for health care workers to take 10 days off work if they tested positive. The new recommendations say workers can return to work after seven days if the test results are negative and there are no symptoms. And the agency said the quarantine period could be cut to five days, or even less, if staff shortages are severe.

Now, the CDC is changing its isolation and isolation guidelines for the public to be less stringent.

Instruction is not a mission; It is a recommendation for employers and state and local officials. Last week, New York state said it would expand CDC guidance for health care workers to include employees with other critical jobs facing severe staffing shortages.

It is possible that other states will look to shorten their quarantine and isolation policies, and the CDC is trying to stay ahead of this change. “It would be helpful to have unified CDC guidance,” says Walensky, from which others can draw, rather than a jumble of policies.

The CDC’s guidance on isolation and quarantine may seem confusing to the public, and the new recommendations are “happening at a time when many people are testing positive for the first time and are seeking guidance.” Lindsay Wiley, a public health attorney at the American University said fluently.

However, the instructions continue to be complicated.


Isolation rules for infected people. Unvaccinated, partially immunized, fully vaccinated, or booster individuals were all the same.

They say:

—The clock starts the day you test positive.

—An infected person should isolate for five days, instead of the previously recommended 10.

—When the five days are up, if you are symptom-free, you can return to your normal activities but must wear a mask everywhere – even when at home around other people – for at least another five days.

—If you still have symptoms after isolating for five days, stay home until you feel better and then start five days wearing a mask at all times.


Isolation rules are for people who have been in close contact with an infected person but are not infected themselves.

For quarantine, the clock starts on the day someone is warned that they may have been exposed to the virus.

Previously, the CDC said that people who are not fully vaccinated and have been in close contact with an infected person should stay home for at least 10 days.

Now, the agency says only people who get a booster shot can skip quarantine if they wear a mask in all settings for at least 10 days.

That is a change. Previously, people who were fully immunized – which the CDC has defined as having two doses of Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, or one dose of Johnson & Johnson vaccine – could be exempt from quarantine.

Now, people who received the initial vaccination but did not receive the vaccination are in the same situation as those who were partially or completely vaccinated: They can stop quarantine after five days if they wear a mask at all facilities for the next five days.


Suspending both quarantine and isolation after five days is not without risk.

A lot of people get tested when they first feel symptoms, but many Americans get tested for other reasons, like to see if they can get home to visit family or go to work. That means a positive test result may not reveal exactly when a person is infected or provide a clear picture of when they are most contagious, experts say.

Once people are infected, the risk of spreading the disease drops significantly after five days, but it doesn’t go away for everyone, said Dr. infected United States said.

“If you reduce it to five days, you will still reach a small but significant number of susceptible people,” he said.

That’s why wearing a mask is such an important part of CDC guidance, Walensky said. CDC recommends shorter COVID quarantine, isolation for all


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