The new CDC COVID-19 isolation and quarantine rules are controversial

As we continue to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic, our understanding of the virus and how it spreads has changed. This has led to guidance from agencies such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that changes periodically. Now, the CDC has announced new quarantine guidelines for those who have been exposed to COVID-19 or who have contracted asymptomatic COVID-19, and some people may scratch their heads.

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What are the new CDC guidelines?

in a statement issued this week, the CDC announced that it was shortening the recommended quarantine time for those diagnosed with COVID-19 from 10 to 5 days. If, after five days, the infected person is asymptomatic, the CDC says they can leave isolation, but recommends that they wear a mask for five more days to decrease the chances of spreading the virus.

If you are not vaccinated, it has been more than six months since your last dose of mRNA vaccine, or more than two months since you received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, the CDC recommends that you quarantine yourself for five days if you are exposed to COVID . After that five-day isolation period, the CDC recommends that you adhere to strict mask use for another five days.

Those who have received a booster dose, on the other hand, do not need to self-quarantine after exposure to someone with COVID-19, although the CDC still recommends wearing a mask for ten days after exposure. The agency also recommends that all potentially exposed individuals be tested five days after exposure and isolated when symptoms develop until a negative COVID test is obtained.

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In a statement, the CDC said that the isolation switch recommendations were based on “science showing that most SARS-CoV-2 transmission occurs early in the course of the disease, usually within 1-2 days. before symptoms appear and 2-3 after. “Additionally, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said these new guidelines will mean that people shouldn’t necessarily put their lives on hold just because they’ve been exposed someone who is COVID-19 positive.

“The Omicron variant is spreading rapidly and has the potential to affect all facets of our society,” Dr. Walensky said in a statement. “The updated CDC recommendations for isolation and quarantine balance what we know about the spread of the virus and the protection provided by vaccination and booster doses. These updates ensure that people can go about their daily lives safely. Prevention is our best option: getting vaccinated, getting a booster, wearing a mask in closed public settings in high and high community transmission areas, and getting tested before meeting. ”

The new quarantine recommendations are a rare change in guidance

Our understanding of COVID-19 has changed rapidly throughout the pandemic, often leading to shifts in the orientation of scientists and epidemiologists. While guidance has been fluid throughout the pandemic, one thing that has remained relatively consistent is the CDC guidelines on isolation and quarantine. For much of the pandemic, the CDC recommended that those who were exposed to COVID-19 be quarantined for 14 days, reducing it to 10 days earlier this year.

Now, with the new recommendation set at five days, some might wonder if that’s too little. In a recent call between President Biden and the National Governors Association, the president was asked if he supported reducing the recommended quarantine time. His answer was simple, with the president saying, “I listen to my medical team. When I receive a recommendation, I follow it. ”

Dr. Anthony Fauci, who serves as the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the President’s Chief Medical Advisor, has said that the CDC reduced the recommended isolation time so that those who are asymptomatic can return to work faster. . As reported by The hillFauci said there is a concern that with a more infectious variant like Omicron, we will have too many asymptomatic people out of work at once under the guidance above.

“The reason is that with the large volume of new cases that we are having and that we hope to continue with omicron, one of the things that we want to be careful about is that we don’t have that many people out there,” Fauci said in a CNN interview. He added that the recommendation “makes sense” as focusing too much on isolating asymptomatic people could leave critical roles unfulfilled by people who might otherwise work.

However, with the fear that the Omicron variant could be much more transmissive than the Delta variant, this CDC decision may be controversial. Ultimately, you need to collect more data on the Omicron variant before you have a clear idea of ​​how dangerous and infectious it is, but for now, at least, the CDC seems to agree to provide recommendations for asymptomatic people.

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