On Monday, driven by the recent surge in COVID-19 cases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officials cut isolation restrictions for asymptomatic Americans from 10 to 5 days and also shortened the time that close contacts need to quarantine.
This comes off the premise that people with coronavirus are most infectious in the two days before and three days after symptoms develop.
Experts have been calling for the change for months, because shorter isolation and quarantine periods appeared to be sufficient to slow the spread, said Lindsay Wiley, an American University public health law expert, as reported by AP News.
The change is aimed at people who are asymptomatic. People who experience symptoms during isolation or quarantine are encouraged to stay home.
What to know about these new recommendations (as reported by AP News):
Note: the recommendations are the same for people unvaccinated, partly vaccinated, fully vaccinated or boosted.
- The clock starts the day you test positive.
- Isolation is recommended for five days.
- After the five days you can return to normal activities but must wear a mask everywhere for at least five more days.
Note: the recommendations are for people who have been in contact with somebody who is infected.
- The clock starts the day you are alerted you might have been exposed to the virus.
- If you are not fully vaccinated, you should stay at home at least 10 days.
- If you are vaccinated and boosted, you can skip quarantine if you wear a mask in all settings for at least 10 days.
- If you are fully vaccinated but haven’t received a booster shot, you can stop quarantine after five days and wear a mask in all settings for another 5 days.