The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention has made a significant change in the amount of time it had earlier recommended about quarantine. People were required to isolate themselves from the public after testing positive for the coronavirus for 10 days. Now this has been changed to just 5 days
Why is this Change Happening
In the wake of the new emergence of coronavirus, the Omicron variant, CDC has decided to set the recommended time for isolation from 10 days for people with COVID-19 to 5 days, if asymptomatic, followed by 5 days of wearing a shield or mask when around others.
The most recent change is motivated by the latest studies in science depicting that a significant majority of SARS-CoV-2 transmission is happening early in the course of illness, generally in the first two days before the onset of symptoms and the 2-3 days after that. Therefore, people who test positive should isolate themselves from the public for 5 days and if they are asymptomatic at that time, they can leave from isolation, if they can continue to mask them for 5 days to avoid the risk of infecting others.
The changes come amid a surge in covid cases spurred by the new omicron variant and there are concerns about the shortages of staff at hospitals, airlines and business places across the country. Latest studies have shown that omicron, while more infectious, causes only milder illness.
Reducing the Centres for Disease Control s 10-day quarantine recommendation would help the asymptomatic people to return for their work or school, with proper precautions, White House medical adviser Anthony Fauci had told CNN last week.
Additionally, CDC is also updating the given quarantine period for those infected by the coronavirus. For people who are not yet vaccinated or are more than six months out from their second mRNA dose (or more than 2 months after the J&J vaccine) and not yet boosted, CDC now has recommended a quarantine period for 5 days followed by strict usage of a mask for an additional 5 days.
Alternatively, if a 5-day quarantine is not feasible for any, an exposed person must wear a well-fitting mask or protective shield at all times when you are around others or for 10 days after exposure.
People who have already received their booster shot do not need to go for quarantine following exposure, but they should wear a mask for 10 days after the exposure. For all those exposed, the best way recommended would also include a test for SARS-CoV-2 at day 5 after exposure. If symptoms occur, individuals should go immediately for quarantine until a negative test confirms symptoms are not associated with COVID-19.
Isolation relates to the behaviour after a confirmed infection. Isolation for 5 days followed by wearing a well-fitted mask will minimise the risk of spreading the virus to other people. Quarantine refers to the time following significant exposure to the virus or having close contact with some people known to have the coronavirus. Both these updates came as the Omicron variant is continuing to spread throughout the globe and reflects the statistics of current science on when and for how long a person is maximally infectious.
Data from the South African continent and the parts of Europe demonstrates that vaccine effectiveness against infection for just two doses of an mRNA vaccine is approximately about 35%. A COVID-19 vaccine booster dose restores vaccine effectiveness against infection to above 75%. COVID-19 vaccination decreases the risk of severe disease as well as hospitalisation and death from the COVID-19 pandemic. CDC strongly encourages COVID-19 vaccination for everyone five and older and boosters for everyone above sixteen. Vaccination is the only way to protect yourself and minimise the impact of COVID-19 on our communities
CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said the country is about to see a lot of omicron cases. “Not all of those cases are going to be severe. Many are going to be asymptomatic,” she said Monday. “We want to make sure there is a mechanism by which we can safely continue to keep society functioning while the following science.”
According to her, “The Omicron variant is spreading quickly and has the potential to impact all facets of our society. CDC’s updated 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 people can safely continue their daily lives. Prevention is our best option: get vaccinated, get boosted, wear a mask in public indoor settings in areas of substantial and high community transmission, and take a test before you gather.”
Anyway, after the covid test kits give away campaign by Biden, this is one major update from the Us government regarding the coronavirus pandemic. The coming days will give us more clarity about these significant decisions taken by the administration.