The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Thursday eased several of its recommendations for fighting Covid-19 such as quarantines and social distancing.
In a news briefing on Thursday, Greta Massetti, chief of the CDC’s Field Epidemiology and Prevention Branch, said, “The current conditions of this pandemic are extremely different from those of the prior two years.”
“High levels of population immunity due to
vaccination and previous infection and the many available tools to prevent to the general population and protect people at higher risk allow us to focus on protecting people from serious illness from Covid-19.”
According to WaPo, “the CDC is putting less emphasis on social distancing. Its quarantine rule for unvaccinated people is gone. The agency’s focus now is on highly vulnerable populations, and how to protect them — not on the vast majority of people who at this point have some immunity against the virus and are unlikely to become severely ill.”
The CDC no longer recommends quarantining following a Covid exposure, unless in high-risk congregate settings like jails, nursing homes, and homeless shelters, per NBC.
“Schools, however, are not considered to be high risk. In case of an exposure, the CDC now says students and school staff who remain asymptomatic should wear a high-quality mask for 10 days, and get tested on day five,” the news outlet reported.
The recommendations made by the CDC are applicable to everyone in the United States.
More from AP:
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also said people no longer need to stay at least 6 feet away from others.
Perhaps the biggest education-related change is the end of the recommendation that schools do routine daily testing, although that practice can be reinstated in certain situations during a surge in infections, officials said.
The CDC also dropped a “test-to-stay” recommendation, which said students exposed to COVID-19 could regularly test — instead of quarantining at home — to keep attending school. With no quarantine recommendation anymore, the testing option disappeared too.
Masks continue to be recommended only in areas where community transmission is deemed high, or if a person is considered at high risk of severe illness.
Masks will be optional in most school districts when classes resume this fall, and some of the nation’s largest districts have dialed back or eliminated COVID-19 testing requirements.
The CDC previously said that if people who are not up to date on their COVID-19 vaccinations come into close contact with a person who tests positive, they should stay home for at least five days. Now the agency says quarantining at home is not necessary, but it urges those people to wear a high-quality mask for 10 days and get tested after five.
The agency continues to say that people who test positive should isolate from others for at least five days, regardless of whether they were vaccinated. CDC officials advise that people can end isolation if they are fever-free for 24 hours without the use of medication and they are without symptoms or the symptoms are improving.