On Monday, US health officials lowered restrictions on Americans who contract the coronavirus and are asymptomatic.
The new guideline specifies that a person with Covid-19 must go into isolation for five days (instead of the previously recommended 10). If a person has no symptoms after five days, they can return to normal activities while wearing a mask — including at home with others — for at least another five days. People should continue to self-isolate while experiencing symptoms and can begin their five days of masking when they no longer have symptoms.
The CDC says the guidelines have been updated to reflect growing evidence suggesting that transmission of Covid-19 often occurs one to two days before the onset of symptoms and during the two to three days after.
The CDC has also changed its recommendations for those exposed to Covid. Earlier, the organization said people who had been fully vaccinated and exposed could skip the quarantine. Now only those who got booster shots can skip the quarantine if they wear masks in all settings for at least 10 days.
After the announcement, Dr. Anthony Fauci, chief medical adviser to President Joe Biden, with reporters about the CDC’s reasons for updating their recommendations.
“The reason is that with the sheer number of new cases that we have and we expect to continue with Omicron, one of the things that we want to be careful about is that we don’t have that many people,” Fauci said. Jim Acosta of CNN. “I mean, it’s clear that if you have symptoms, you should” [be out]But if you’re asymptomatic and you’re infected, we want to get people back to work — especially those with essential jobs to keep our society running smoothly.”
For example, many hospitals are faced with staff shortages, or are afraid they will. In response, the CDC relaxed quarantine rules for health professionals last week.
Fauci said he supported the CDC’s decision.
“I think that was a very prudent and good choice by the CDC, which we spent a lot of time discussing,” he said. “Namely getting people back in half the time they would have been gone so they can go back to the workplace to do things that are important to keep society running smoothly.”
Fauci reiterated this point to MSNBC’s Tiffany Cross, saying the CDC’s decision is “cautious” and “based on science.”
“Instead of putting people out of action for 10 days, out of work, out of society, if you’re infected and without symptoms, you have 5 days of isolation and then you can go back into society with a mask worn constantly,” he said.
Experts agree that the omicron variant is highly transmissible and poses a serious threat to health care, even if symptoms are milder than with previous strains.
“The Omicron variant is spreading rapidly and has the potential to affect all facets of our society. CDC’s updated isolation and quarantine recommendations balance what we know about the spread of the virus and the protection offered by vaccination and booster doses says CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky in a statement. “These updates ensure that people can continue their daily lives safely.”
Walensky also emphasized that “Prevention is our best option: get vaccinated, get a boost, wear a mask in indoor public settings in areas with substantial and high community transmission, and do a test before meeting.”
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