CDC Cuts Short Recommended Covid-19 Isolation And Quarantine Time

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The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or CDC has reduced the recommended Covid 19 isolation and quarantine period for the general population to five days from ten days.

This should be followed by 5 days of wearing a mask to minimize the risk of infecting others. Those who have a fever should continue to stay home until fever resolves.

The action is in view of Omicron variant continuing to spread throughout the U.S.

The data shows that the majority of SARS-CoV-2 transmission occurs early in the course of illness, generally in the 1-2 days prior to onset of symptoms and the 2-3 days after.

CDC also updated the recommended quarantine period for those exposed to the virus or close contact with someone known to have COVID-19.

According to the agency, the recommended quarantine time is 5 days for people who are unvaccinated 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. This should be followed by strict mask use for an additional 5 days.

An exposed person, if a 5-day quarantine is not feasible, should wear a well-fitting mask at all times when around others for 10 days after exposure.

Meanwhile, people who are fully vaccinated and received their booster shot do not need to quarantine following an exposure, but should wear a mask for 10 days after the exposure, the agency said.

It also recommends that all those exposed take a test for SARS-CoV-2 at day 5 after exposure. If symptoms occur, individuals should immediately quarantine until a negative test confirms symptoms are not attributable to COVID-19.

The new Omicron variant is said to be 25-50% more contagious, but likely less virulent with more mild disease particularly among individuals who are fully vaccinated. Based on this, the U.S. health officials were considering reducing the recommended 10-day quarantine period for asymptomatic, vaccinated people who test positive for Covid, specifically health care workers.

CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said, "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."

CDC strongly urges COVID-19 vaccination for everyone 5 and older and boosters for everyone 16 and older.

Based on data from South Africa and the United Kingdom, the vaccine effectiveness against infection for two doses of an mRNA vaccine is approximately 35%, while a booster dose restores vaccine effectiveness against infection to 75%.

Last week, Delta Air Lines Inc. had asked the CDC to shorten quarantine period for fully vaccinated individuals, to avoid any disruptions in airline's operations and workforce.

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