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WHY DID THE CDC CHANGE ISOLATION GUIDANCE?

While “CDC recommends” memes and other unhelpful news are trending nationwide, it is important to understand the real reasons behind the changes in CDC guidance.

 

  • The CDC changed quarantine guidance for people COVID-19 positive without symptoms because most people are only contagious during the first 5 days of having the virus. 

    • After that, people should just wear a mask for 5 more days.

    •  People who are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms should follow previous guidance and isolate for 10 days. 

 

  • The CDC is also recommending the 5 day isolation period to people exposed to COVID-19 that are either unvaccinated or without a booster shot because are more likely to be contagious.

    • Isolating for just 5 days can reduce the risk of infecting others who might have more severe symptoms. 

    • The CDC no longer recommends asymptomatic people isolating for 10 days because the extra days do not significantly reduce virus transmission. 

 

  • The CDC did not change its isolation recommendation because of political or economic pressures. It updated guidance based on emerging science on virus transmission, vaccine effectiveness against the various coronavirus variants, and deadliness of dominant variants.

    • Because the omicron variant is highly contagious but not as deadly as other variants, returning to in-person activities is not as dangerous as it was last year. 

    • Even though cases are increasing (up +229,000 cases per week on average since November 2021), deaths are not skyrocketing. Average weekly COVID-19 deaths are about a third of what they were in January 2021. 

 

The COVID-19 landscape is changing for the better. The dominant omicron variant is less deadly than previous variants and vaccines are reducing hospitalizations and deaths. And we are able to avoid viral transmission with less isolation time because so many cases in vaccinated people are asymptomatic.

 

As Faithful Citizens, we are energized by this turning point and are ready to overcome COVID-19 in 2022. May God bless America and guide her scientists in the coming year!