CDC says that people exposed to COVID-19 no longer have to isolate! Agency recommends just masking indoors and testing after five days for people ‘up-to-date’ on their vaccine
- The CDC has rolled back some of its COVID-19 guidance, saying that quarantine after exposure to the virus is no longer necessary in all cases
- People who are up-to-date with their vaccine – meaning they have received all available boosters – now are only recommended to mask-up after exposure
- They are recommended to get tested for the virus five days after their known exposure
- The change comes as the U.S. seems to have dodged a massive summer surge caused by the BA.5 variant, as many experts predicted
- New vaccines that are specially tailored to the Omicron variant may be soon available after receiving recommendation from a key FDA panel
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has further rolled back COVID-19 guidance, announcing Thursday that it no longer recommends people with a known exposure to the virus to enter isolation if they are up-to-date with their vaccines. Instead, the agency recommends wearing a mask in indoor public places and testing for the virus after five days.
In a release, the agency says that the move is streamlining its COVID-19 guidance. No other changes appear to have been made to the nation’s Covid guidelines. Now, a person with a known exposure to the virus is expected to quarantine for at least five days if they are not up-to-date on their vaccines. This means having received at least two booster jabs for people over 50, and at least one booster for younger adults.
The change comes as America’s Covid situation remains stagnant and fear of the virus among the population continues to fall. The BA.5 variant-fueled summer surge that many experts feared never materialized and case and death figures have remained in a steady range for months.
As of Thursday, the U.S. is recording 109,663 new cases every day, a six percent drop in the last week. Deaths caused by Covid have jumped 24 percent over the past week to 570 per day.
People who have been exposed to COVID-19 are now longer required to isolate for five days under new CDC guidance. Instead, they are recommended to mask indoors when around others before getting tested on day five
‘We’re in a stronger place today as a nation, with more tools—like vaccination, boosters, and treatments—to protect ourselves, and our communities, from severe illness from COVID-19,’ Dr Greta Massetti said in a CDC release.
‘We also have a better understanding of how to protect people from being exposed to the virus, like wearing high-quality masks, testing, and improved ventilation. This guidance acknowledges that the pandemic is not over, but also helps us move to a point where COVID-19 no longer severely disrupts our daily lives.’
The five day period is to account for the incubation period of the virus, which is usually around that time after exposure.
This is the first major change to Covid guidelines made by the nation’s leading body on the pandemic since it lifted guidance for masks on transit.
As of this new guidance’s release, the only people who are required to isolate are people who test positive for the virus – for at least five days – or exposed persons who are unvaccinated.
America’s Covid situation has largely been stagnant in recent months. The 109,633 cases being recorded daily remains on the lower end of the range cases have remained in since May.
While deaths have shifted upwards, the 570 per day is still a relatively low total compared to early spring.
Many experts feared that this would not be the case just weeks ago. The BA.5 variant quickly stormed the world in late-Spring and early-Summer after first being detected in South Africa.
The variant initially caused cases to increase as it took over as the nation’s dominant strain, but the massive surge some expected never materialized.
The BA.5 variant (dark green) makes up around 87% of active cases in the U.S. according to most recent data from the CDC
Most recent data from the CDC earlier this week shows that the variant now makes up 87 percent of cases in the U.S. – snuffing out previous forms of the virus.
The BA.4 variant that was detected in South Africa around the same time makes up around 6.6 percent of cases – while the BA 4.6 lineage accounts for around five percent of sequenced cases.
The BA 2.12.1 variant that was previously dominant now accounts for less than two percent of infections. The BA.2 ‘stealth’ variant and original BA.1 strain of Omicron have been almost entirely wiped out.
The CDC may feel more comfortable loosening guidelines as new vaccines are around the corner.
Earlier this year, a leading Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advisory panel voted in favor of reformulating the COVID-19 vaccines to specifically target the Omicron variant.
Currently available shots were formulated against the original Wuhan strain of the virus that overwhelmed the world in early 2020.
In the time since, the virus has mutated to evade protection against infection provided by those shots. Retailoring the jabs to fight the Omicron variant could blunt the virus’s ability to circulate – allowing for lax guidelines.