The Dec 27 guidance reduced isolation restrictions for people with COVID-19 from 10 to five days if they are no longer feeling symptoms or have a fever. In the following five days, they are required to wear masks at all times around others. Photograph:( AFP )
Despite hints from other federal officials that it was reconsidering its position, the CDC on Tuesday maintained that people who catch COVID-19 are not required to undergo testing before they can emerge from five days of isolation
Centres for Disease Control and Prevention explained the scientific rationale for shortening their isolation and quarantine guidelines for COVID-19 and said that the guidelines also apply to children.
The Dec 27 guidance reduced isolation restrictions for people with COVID-19 from 10 to five days if they are no longer feeling symptoms or have a fever. In the following five days, they are required to wear masks at all times around others.
Despite hints from other federal officials that it was reconsidering its position, the CDC on Tuesday maintained that people who catch COVID-19 are not required to undergo testing before they can emerge from five days of isolation.
Last week, the CDC announced a reduction in isolation time for Americans who caught the Coronavirus but did not experience any symptoms or only experienced a brief illness. For isolation to end, a person must have been fever-free for at least 24 hours without using fever-reducing medications and all other symptoms have resolved, according to the CDC.
Previously, CDC officials said the changes were in line with evidence that people with coronaviruses are most infectious two days before and three days after symptoms develop.
Experts have questioned how the new recommendations were crafted and why they changed amid the spike in cases linked largely to the highly contagious omicron variant. Many health professionals have criticised the guidelines for failing to specify a negative antigen test as a requirement for leaving isolation.
CDC posted documents on Tuesday designed to answer these questions as well as others. In response to questions raised by school leaders around the country, the CDC said the guidance applies to both school children and adults.
As part of its justification for the revisions, the agency cited more than 100 studies from 17 countries that found most transmission occurs early in an infection.
CDC officials acknowledged that the data were derived from studies carried out when delta and other pre-omicron variants caused the majority of infections. However, the agency also pointed to limited, early data from the US and South Korea, which suggest that the time between exposure and the onset of symptoms may be shorter for the omicron strain than for the earlier variants.
Watch | Gravitas: Will Rich Countries extend the Pandemic?
Furthermore, the CDC addressed its decision not to call for a negative test prior to releasing the population from isolation.
The agency says lab tests can yield positive results even after someone has stopped being contagious, and an at-home test result can be misleading. In light of that, the agency recommends wearing masks everywhere after the five-day period of isolation ends.
Moreover, the agency admitted that many people did not follow the previous isolation and quarantine recommendations anyway. It has been found that only 25 to 30 per cent of people isolated for a full 10 days under the old guidelines.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends people exposed to this virus be quarantined for five days unless they have recently received their first dose of vaccine. This is also true if they have recently gotten booster shots. The agency also suggested that anyone exposed "regardless of vaccination status" should get tested five days later.
(With inputs from agencies)