Last Monday, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention halved the required duration for COVID quarantine and isolation times.
In some cases, vaccinated Americans may not need to quarantine at all. Quarantine refers to the time people stay away from others if they are exposed to a disease but have not yet tested positive or showing symptoms.
Shortened COVID Quarantine and Isolation Times
The CDC reduced recommended COVID quarantine and isolation times that Americans should undergo after testing positive.
The recommended ten days of COVID quarantine time will now become five days if patients don’t develop symptoms.
However, the CDC will require them to wear a mask around people for five more days. In a statement, the CDC outlined the new guidelines.
For vaccinated Americans exposed to the virus, the CDC also shortened the recommended time to five days. Fully vaccinated Americans wouldn’t need to quarantine at all, according to the CDC.
Those whose symptoms are getting better may also leave their homes after five days. This is as long as symptoms continue to improve. However, Americans with fever should stay home until it clears up, the CDC added.
CDC’s Change ‘Motivated By Science’
In its statement, the CDC noted that science motivated the changes in the guidelines. “The majority of SARS-CoV-2 transmission occurs early in the course of illness, generally in the 1-2 days prior to the onset of symptoms and the 2-3 days after.
Therefore, people who test positive should isolate for five days,” it said. “If asymptomatic at that time, they may leave isolation if they can continue to mask for five days to minimize the risk of infecting others,” the statement added.
For unvaccinated Americans or those six months out from their full dose, the CDC recommendations changed as well.
“For people who are unvaccinated or are more than six months out from their second mRNA dose (or more than two months after the J&J vaccine) and not yet boosted, CDC now recommends quarantine for five days followed by strict mask use for an additional five days,” it said.
If the COVID quarantine isn’t feasible, the exposed person should mask up for 10 days after exposure.
CDC Said Vaccinated Americans Off The Hook For Quarantine
Meanwhile, Americans who completed their vaccinations and took booster shots won’t have to undergo COVID quarantine.
“Individuals who have received their booster shot do not need to quarantine following an exposure, but should wear a mask for 10 days after the exposure,” it said.
“For all those exposed, best practice would also include a test for SARS-CoV-2 at day five after exposure. If symptoms occur, individuals should immediately quarantine until a negative test confirms symptoms are not attributable to COVID-19.”
CDC Still Insists Everyone Get A COVID Vaccine
However, the CDC continues to insist that Americans complete their COVID vaccinations. “COVID-19 vaccination decreases the risk of severe disease, hospitalization, and death from COVID-19.
CDC strongly encourages COVID-19 vaccination for everyone 5 and older and boosters for everyone 16 and older.
Vaccination is the best way to protect yourself and reduce the impact of COVID-19 on our communities,” the CDC said.
Last week, the CDC also updated guidelines for its health care workers. Those without symptoms or who have mild symptoms can return to work after seven days. However, they should test negative for COVID.
Watch the PBS NewsHour video reporting on why the CDC reduced COVID quarantine time despite omicron's spread:
Do you agree with the new CDC policies reducing COVID quarantine periods? How about the guidelines enforcing mask-wearing?
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