CDC eases coronavirus quarantine, screening recommendations

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday eased its recommendations for fighting the COVID-19 virus, including quarantine and screening guidelines.

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The CDC also dropped the recommendation of people staying at least 6 feet away from others to reduce the risk of exposure, according to The Associated Press.

People who are exposed to the virus are no longer required to quarantine at home, regardless of their vaccination status, The New York Times reported. People who are exposed should still wear a mask for 10 days and get tested for COVID-19 on the fifth day, according to the newspaper. Routine surveillance testing of people who do not have symptoms is no longer recommended, the CDC said.

People who test positive for the virus should still isolate at home for at least five days, The Washington Post reported. The guidelines for masking, which the CDC recommends for people in indoor places where community COVID-19 levels are high, have not changed, according to the newspaper.

“The current conditions of this pandemic are very different from those of the last two years,” CDC epidemiologist Greta Massetti told reporters during a briefing on Thursday.

An estimated 95% of Americans 16 and older have acquired some level of immunity against COVID-19, either from being vaccinated or infected, the AP reported.

“We know that COVID-19 is here to stay,” Massetti told reporters. “High levels of population immunity due to vaccination and previous infection, and the many tools that we have available to protect people from severe illness and death, have put us in a different place.”

The new guidelines also note that contact tracing should be limited to hospitals and certain high-risk group-living situations such as nursing homes, CNN reported. The guidelines also ease the use of regular testing except in places like nursing homes and prisons, the news outlet reported.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration announced that people who have been exposed to COVID-19 should take three home tests instead of two, the AP reported.

The FDA previously advised taking two rapid antigen tests over a two- to three-day period to rule out infections.

“I think the question is, is the CDC finally saying, ‘Look, we’ve done what we can do to contain the most acute phases of this pandemic,’ " Jeanne Marrazzo, an infectious-diseases expert and clinician at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, told the Post. “So are they just finally saying that it is time for us to sort of take a step back and think about putting this back to the individual person?”