The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States reduced the recommended time for people to isolate after testing positive for Covid-19 from 10 days to five days if they don’t have symptoms – and if they wear a mask around others for at least another five days.
The CDC also reduced the recommended quarantine period for people who have been exposed to the virus from five days to five days if they have been vaccinated. According to the CDC, people who have been fully vaccinated and boosted may not need to quarantine at all.
“Given what we now know about COVID-19 and the Omicron variant, the CDC is shortening the recommended time for isolation from 10 days to five days for people with COVID-19, if asymptomatic, followed by five days of wearing a mask when around others,” the CDC said in a statement.
People whose symptoms are improving may also leave their homes after five days if their symptoms are improving, according to the CDC. People who have a fever should stay at home until the fever subsides, according to the CDC.
“The change is motivated by scientific evidence demonstrating that the majority of SARS-CoV-2 transmission occurs early in the course of illness, typically in the 1-2 days preceding onset of symptoms and the 2-3 days following. People who test positive should isolate for five days and, if asymptomatic, may leave isolation if they can continue to mask for five days to reduce the risk of infecting others.”
Quarantine is the period of time during which people are separated from others if they have been exposed to a disease but have not yet tested positive or shown symptoms.
The CDC revised its recommendations as well. “CDC now recommends quarantine for five days followed by strict mask use for an additional five days for people who are unvaccinated or are more than six months out from their second mRNA dose and have not yet been boosted,” it said.
“Alternatively, if a five-day quarantine is not feasible,” the CDC added, “it is critical that an exposed person wear a well-fitting mask at all times when around others for 10 days after exposure.”
Those who have been vaccinated and boosted are usually exempt from quarantine, according to the CDC.
“Individuals who have received their booster shot do not need to quarantine following an exposure, but should wear a mask for 10 days,” it said.
“Best practice would also include a SARS-CoV-2 test on day five after exposure for all those who have been exposed.” If symptoms occur, individuals should be quarantined immediately until a negative test confirms that the symptoms are not caused by COVID-19.”
According to Dr. Anthony Fauci, the changes were made in part to keep society running smoothly.
“We want to get people back to work, especially essential jobs, to keep society running smoothly,” said Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
Boosters reduce the likelihood that someone will become infected and spread the virus to others, according to the CDC.
“Data from South Africa and the United Kingdom show that two doses of an mRNA vaccine provide approximately 35% protection against infection.” “A COVID-19 vaccine booster dose restores vaccine effectiveness against infection to 75%,” the study concluded.
“The Omicron variant is rapidly spreading and has the potential to affect all aspects of our society,” said CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky in a statement.
“The CDC’s updated recommendations for isolation and quarantine strike a balance between what we know about the virus’s spread and the protection provided by vaccination and booster doses. These updates ensure that people can go about their daily lives in safety. Prevention is the best option: get vaccinated, get boosted, wear a mask in public indoor settings in areas with significant and high community transmission, and get tested before you gather.”
The CDC updated its guidance for health care workers with Covid-19 who have no or mild symptoms last week, saying they can return to work after seven days if they test negative for infection.
People who had been exposed to Covid-19 but did not test positive were previously advised to quarantine for 14 days, while those who tested positive for Covid-19 were advised to isolate for 10 days.