CDC Eases Covid Guidance, Acknowledging the Virus to Be a Fact of LifeShifting focus onto avoiding severe illness rather than preventing transmission, new Covid guidelines eliminate need for quarantines for unvaccinated after exposure and will help minimize disruption on schools and businesses.

By Main Street Sentinel Staff

On August 11th, in a move that was welcomed by many health and education professionals, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention loosened many Covid-19 guidelines, removing the requirement that unvaccinated people exposed to the virus quarantine at home and broadly shifting responsibility for containment onto individuals rather than public institutions.

In a briefing explaining the changes, Greta Massetti, a C.D.C epidemiologist said, “we know that Covid-19 is here to stay. 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.”

According to the new guidance, those exposed to the virus no longer need to quarantine at home. However, they should still wear a mask for 10 days and should get a test on Day 5. Those that test positive for the virus should still isolate themselves at home for at least five days, 10 for those who are immunocompromised or who had a moderate or severe illness.

Experts hailed what they see as a pragmatic move by the C.D.C, bringing guidance in line with the reality of the way that many Americans have adapted to living with the virus. Moreover, the new guidelines do away with some of the more polarizing policies of distinguishing between vaccinated and unvaccinated people, especially for businesses and schools.

Guidance around schools is now much easier to understand and follow. No longer will unvaccinated students need to ‘test to stay’ and the C.D.C has eliminated complicated guidance on ‘cohorts’, instead leaving it up to schools themselves to implement stricter measures should they become necessary depending on the situation or activity.

Overall, experts noted that the new guidelines shift the focus from clamping down on Covid-19 transmission to preventing severe illness and similarly move from sweeping population controls to more individualized advice for vulnerable or high-risk settings. Nevertheless, the C.D.C still recommends masking in crowded areas as, aside from vaccination, perhaps the most effective way of avoiding catching or transmitting the virus.

Moreover, experts also noted that this change does not mean the pandemic is over. Indeed, after two years and over a million deaths in the United States alone, the new, highly-contagious, Omicron subvariant continues to infect over 100,000 people per day. Experts warned that should new variants emerge, more stringent measures may, once again, become necessary in the future.