CDC cuts isolation and quarantine time in half with new Covid guidelines

Atlanta, Georgia - Good news for Americans who test positive for Covid-19: according to new guidelines released by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) on Monday, they will only have to deal with five days of isolation, on the condition that their symptoms subside.

The CDC issued new isolation and quarantine guidelines on Monday (stock image).
The CDC issued new isolation and quarantine guidelines on Monday (stock image).  © 123RF/ra2studio

Until now, the isolation period for those testing positive was 10 days. The CDC has decided to cut that time by half, based on the latest data on the Omicron variant.

"The change is motivated by science demonstrating that the majority of SARS-CoV-2 transmission occurs early in the course of illness, generally in the 1-2 days prior to onset of symptoms and the 2-3 days after," the announcement posted on the CDC website said.

Some studies have already shown Omicron to have the shortest incubation period of any Covid variant so far. Coupled with a lower hospitalization rate, this is at least a sliver of good news amid the all the chaos caused by the highly-infectious virus.

The CDC still recommends that people wear a mask in all settings for another five days after coming out of isolation, "to minimize the risk of infecting others."

Quarantine time has also been halved. Those who haven't been vaccinated or are unboosted and more than six months away from their second shot (two months of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine) are asked to quarantine for five days if they come into contact with someone who tested positive.

The CDC also reiterated that boosters will bring vaccine effectiveness back up to 75% for Omicron, up from the 35% of two doses.

Cover photo: 123RF/ra2studio

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