CDC relaxes Covid-19 quarantine rules — Analysis

In the face of rising infections, US’s national public health agency recommends that quarantine be reduced to a minimum.

According to the CDC, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have reduced the time it recommends for people infected by Covid-19 to 5 days instead of 10. This was because Covid-19 is more likely spreads earlier in life.

The change stems from growing evidence that Covid-19 transmission usually occurs within a short window – from 1-2 days before the onset of symptoms to 2-3 days after, the CDC said on Monday. It was recommended that those who have tested positive for the virus should be isolated for 5 days. After leaving quarantine, they must wear a mask for 5 days in order to reduce their risk of contracting it.

The CDC also reduced the recommended five-day quarantine for Americans not vaccinated against Covid-19 by half. For those who can’t isolate themselves, the CDC advised wearing a mask when around others for 10 days after exposure. The same guidance applies to vaccinated people who are more than six months out from their second jab and haven’t received a booster shot.

Unveiling the new recommendations, the agency acknowledged that the rapid spread of Covid-19’s Omicron variant could sideline the workers needed to keep hospitals, airlines and other key businesses operating.

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“The Omicron variant is spreading quickly and has the potential to impact all facets of our society,” CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said. “CDC’s updated recommendations for isolation and quarantine balance what we know about the spread of the virus and the protection provided by vaccination and booster doses. These updates ensure people can safely continue their daily lives.”

Walensky said to the Associated Press Omicron cases will be symptomatic. “We want to make sure there is a mechanism by which we can safely continue to keep society functioning while following the science.”

Staffing disruptions caused by Omicron’s spread have already hobbled the US airline industry.’s tracking data shows that nearly 1300 US airlines cancelled and 6,000 flights were delayed on Monday. Christmas weekend was the busiest period for US airline travel.

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