Washington, December 31 (SocialNews.XYZ) The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has shortened the isolation period for Americans infected with Covid-19 from 10 to five days, leading to public confusion and prompting health experts to warn that the recommendation could lead to more spread of Covid-19 19 and more infected cases.
In a new guideline released earlier this week, the U.S. Department of Health shortens the recommended time for isolation from 10 days for people with Covid-19 to five days if they are asymptomatic, followed by five days of wearing a mask when they are around others, Xinhua news agency reported.
The CDC has also updated its quarantine period recommendation for those exposed to Covid-19. For individuals who are unvaccinated or are more than six months out of their second mRNA dose or more than 2 months after the Johnson & Johnson vaccine and have not yet been boosted, the agency recommends quarantine for five days followed by strict mask use for an additional five days.
The change in the guide was “motivated by science showing that the majority of SARS-CoV-2 transmission occurs early in the course of the disease,” according to the health agency.
CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said the change was also motivated by economic and societal concerns.
“With a really large expected number of cases from Omicron, we also want to make sure we can keep the critical functions of society open and functioning,” she said on Tuesday.
“We can not take science in a vacuum. We need to put science in the context of how it can be implemented in a functional society.”
The guidance does not require a negative test to leave isolation or quarantine, which experts worry about may increase transmission and new cases.
“The CDC’s new guide to dropping positive isolation for five days without a negative test is ruthless,” tweeted Michael Mina, assistant professor of epidemiology at the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health.
“Some people stay contagious for three days, some 12 (days),” he tweeted.
“Test negative to leave isolation early is just smart.”
With the rise in cases driven by the Omicron variant, U.S. administration Joe Biden’s administration has come under criticism for failing to prepare adequate tests. People queue in malls and around town blocks, sometimes for hours, to be tested.
Another concern that epidemiologists have expressed is that the new recommendation does not distinguish between vaccinated and unvaccinated people who recover from the virus at different times.
“Vaccinated people are much less likely to become infected and less likely to be contagious for a long time,” said Aaron Caroll, a pediatrician at Indiana University.
Eric Topol, director of the Scripps Research Translational Institute, said the policy represents “a new low” for the CDC, saying it is contrary to the Biden administration’s pledge to cut close to scientific evidence to curb the pandemic.
Some experts are concerned that there is not enough evidence on how Omicron is behaving to support the CDC’s new five-day isolation recommendation.
Meanwhile, some other experts have acknowledged that shortening the isolation period would alleviate stress in hospitals and businesses as more workers become infected with Omicron.