The CDC is shortening the timeframe for public isolation for individuals who test positive for coronavirus but have no symptoms, the agency now recognizes that the optimal strategy involves obtaining a quick at-home COVID-19 test before releasing people from isolation.
The CDC’s New Recommendations
People who are infected with COVID-19 may leave isolation and return to work after five days if they are asymptomatic or if their symptoms are improving and they wear a mask for five days, according to the CDC’s prior recommendations given last week.
The CDC also advised that anybody who has not been completely vaccinated and boosted must stay in quarantine for 10 days if they are exposed to an infectious person. Furthermore, following the publication of the recommendations, the CDC was met with a barrage of criticism from health professionals who expressed worry that, without a testing component, patients might be freed from isolation while remaining infectious.
In recent days, top administration officials, including White House chief medical advisor Anthony Fauci, have signaled that the guidelines might be amended to incorporate a testing component. However, the CDC said on Tuesday that a test was just an option if someone chose to take one and that the usefulness of a test at the end of the five days was unknown.
In addition, the upgrades come as the Omicron form spreads throughout the United States, and they reflect current understanding on when and how long a person is most infectious. These guidelines do not replace state, municipal, tribal, or territorial laws, rules, or regulations, and they do not apply to healthcare personnel who have received updated information from the CDC.
Shortage of Rapid Tests
Due to the shortage of rapid tests, several experts believe the CDC did not add a testing mandate. At-home testing is difficult or impossible to come by in many regions, and even when they are, they are expensive. The CDC did not respond to a question about test availability. When choosing to reduce the isolation period, the agency stated it took into account the “societal impact” of a substantial number of instances.
Antigen testing, as well as at-home tests that people can buy and administer themselves, have been in limited supply for weeks, thanks to increased demand over the Christmas season when many wanted to use the at-home tests before going to family gatherings.