CDC's Covid Quarantine Guidance May Change Soon: Scenarios

Tested positive for covid and wondering if you should isolate? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention may change its guidelines soon.

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Patrick Sisson/AP

Tested positive for covid and wondering if you should isolate? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention may change its guidelines soon.

Patrick Sisson/AP

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention may soon drop isolation guidance for people with Covid-19. A planned change was announced in The Washington Post Tuesday, according to several unnamed CDC officials.

Currently, those who have tested positive He advised to stay at home For at least five days to reduce the chances of spreading the coronavirus to others. Officials, who did not want to be named, said Mail The agency advises people to rely on signs instead. If a person does not have the flu and the person's symptoms are mild or resolved, they can still go to school or work. These changes could come in early April.

The CDC has yet to confirm the report. In an email, an agency spokesperson wrote to the CDC that “there are no updates to the Covid guidelines to announce at this time. We will continue to make decisions based on the best evidence and science to keep communities healthy and safe.”

Some states – California And Oregon – has already implemented similar guidelines.

If this change happens, it should not mean that the number of Covid-19 infections is low, he says Jennifer Nassois an epidemiologist and director of the Center for Infectious Diseases at the Brown University School of Public Health.

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“The science of COVID hasn't changed,” Nuzzo says. If you test positive for COVID-19, you may be contagious for at least a few days and are at risk of spreading the coronavirus to others.

The policy change under consideration may be a response to the impact of the spread of Covid-19 Less consequential than they were before, at least from a public health perspective. Deaths and hospitalizations increased this winter, but nowhere near as much as they did in previous years. truly, Hospitals were mostly okay – Not much – this virus season.

Changing the guidance may reflect the reality that many Americans will not necessarily follow it. Isolation is “very hard, it takes a lot of work,” he says Dr. Anand Parekh, chief medical adviser at the Bipartisan Policy Center. He spent the first five days in isolation at home when he spoke to NPR on day nine of his illness with Covid. He worked, ate and slept alone to avoid exposing his family members, including three young children.

“For a lot of people, how they live, where they live, how many people are in the house, their jobs — whether they have paid leave, whether they can work virtually,” he says.

Additionally, testing is more expensive and difficult to access than before, so people may not even know they have COVID-19, let alone take steps to isolate, Parekh says.

However, while many ignore the current guidelines, Jessica Malati RiveraAn epidemiologist and communications consultant for the de Beaumont Foundation says the federal government's public health advice should guide people, not the other way around.

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“It's like saying, people don't really wear seat belts, so I guess we can say that seat belts don't matter,” he says. “That kind of defeats the purpose of providing evidence-based information — it's public health's responsibility to do that.”

And public health experts say the change in CDC guidance could mean big changes to workplace policies. If the CDC doesn't recommend staying home for a week with COVID-19, workers may be forced to go to work sick. They can spread the corona virus to others.

And it makes it especially hard on vulnerable people: the very young, the very old, people with immunocompromised or underlying medical conditions.

“It may actually increase the number of cases of COVID and prolonged Covid, and to a certain extent, morbidity among high-risk individuals, resulting in hospitalizations and deaths,” Parekh says, although evidence from California and Oregon stops the recommendation. The five-day quarantine period has yet to end.

If the guideline change happens, Nuzzo says, the CDC will effectively treat COVID-19 like the flu. But she and other health experts wonder if that's the right model, given that influenza causes so many illnesses and deaths.

“We need to harmonize our policies, not just be COVID-specific,” and while it makes sense to address all respiratory pathogens, Nuzzo says, “that doesn't mean there aren't still risks to people from these pathogens.”

Malati Rivera points out that it was never a good idea to go to work or school with an active flu infection, but it was customary for many to show their commitment to work. “We don't value rest and isolation and isolation,” he notes.

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“I think people forget the fact that it's not OK to go around when you're contagious,” he says, given the risks to vulnerable people and the long-term Covid risk. “We cannot ignore those who are immunocompromised, very young or very old and rely on Social Security to protect themselves.”

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