- CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield told Mike Pence and the White House Coronavirus Task Force that the Commission will soon issue new COVID-19 quarantine guidelines.
- Coronavirus quarantine will be shortened to 7-10 days from the current recommendation of 14 days.
- A person exposed to someone infected with the novel coronavirus can leave quarantine after 7 days and a negative PCR test, or after 10 symptom-free days without a test.
A few days ago, word got out that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) was contemplating a huge change to one of its main coronavirus guidelines. The agency was thinking about shortening the quarantine period, which is currently 14 days after exposure to a person who has tested positive for COVID-19. The announcement seemed imminent but had no firm date, as the exact language and plans to update the guidelines remained unclear.
It appears the CDC has clarified the new coronavirus quarantine rules, informing Vice President Mike Pence of the upcoming change. Now, the details have leaked ahead of the CDC’s official announcement.
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The report last week said that the quarantine recommendation could be shortened to 7-10 days from the current 14-day period. People quarantining at home after exposure to the virus would be able to leave after 10 days, reports said. It would all hinge on the result of a PCR test.
On Tuesday, CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield informed Pence and White House Coronavirus Task Force members that the quarantine recommendation will indeed drop to 7-10 days. The CDC will soon issue new guidelines for the public that will recommend close contacts quarantine for 7 to 10 days, two senior administration officials informed CNN.
The quarantine can end after 7 days if a person then receives a negative PCR test, or after 10 days without any testing as long as there are no symptoms. Redfield explained the decision is based on science and has been under review for weeks. Pence has been pushing the CDC for months to review the guidelines, the report notes.
The CDC recently updated its definition of close contact, saying that multiple, brief encounters adding up to 15 minutes spent within six feet of an infected person counts as exposure. People had been advised all year long to quarantine following a possible exposure to limit the spread. A person is contagious as early as two days before the onset of symptoms and at least five days after symptoms start. Asymptomatic people can be contagious as well, but the specific time period is still unknown.
A different report said earlier this week that the CDC might also change guidelines for self-isolation. A person who tests positive for SARS-CoV-2 has to isolate from other people for 10 days according to current guidelines. It’s unclear when the CDC will update those guidelines or how long the new isolation period should now be. France reduced isolation to five days after the onset of symptoms this past September.
If backed by science, reduced quarantine and isolation could convince more people to comply with the rules and lead to a drop in cases. The longer people stay hidden from the world after exposure to COVID-19, the fewer people they’ll potentially infect.
Chris Smith started writing about gadgets as a hobby, and before he knew it he was sharing his views on tech stuff with readers around the world. Whenever he’s not writing about gadgets he miserably fails to stay away from them, although he desperately tries. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing.