CDC Drops Quarantine Recommendations for Unvaccinated Americans Exposed to COVID-19 | Health News

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday updated its COVID-19 guidance to allow Americans who are unvaccinated or not up to date on their shots to skip quarantine after exposure to the virus.

Instead, those people should wear a high quality mask for 10 days and get tested on day five or sooner if they have symptoms, according to the CDC. It’s the same guidance for people who are up to date on their shots. The agency previously recommended that undervaccianted individuals quarantine for five days.

The agency cited the availability of coronavirus treatments, high levels of immunity against the coronavirus as well as a desire to “limit social and economic impacts” in a report published alongside its decision. But COVID-19 immunity – both from infection and from vaccination – has proved fleeting in the face of ever-changing variants, making the concept of herd immunity likely unattainable for the virus.

“These circumstances now allow public health efforts to minimize the individual and societal health impacts of COVID-19 by focusing on sustainable measures to further reduce medically significant illness as well as to minimize strain on the health care system, while reducing barriers to social, educational and economic activity,” the CDC wrote in its report.

Isolation guidance from the CDC mostly remained unchanged, recommending that people who test positive isolate for at least five days. If after the fifth day the person has no symptoms or symptoms are improving, they can end isolation but continue to wear a mask through day 10. However, regardless of when someone’s isolation ends, they should avoid being around people who are more likely to get very sick from COVID-19 until at least day 11.

The update also clarifies that if a person has ended their isolation but their symptoms worsen, they must restart their isolation period.

The changes highlight the agency’s efforts to shift COVID-19-related decisions to the individual level as states, cities and the federal government have ended most coronavirus mitigation measures. Still, the majority of the country is undervaccinated, and coronavirus cases, deaths and hospitalizations remain elevated.

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