The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Thursday it was loosening several requirements for coronavirus mitigation that had been in place since the inception of the pandemic.
In its updated guidance, the agency relaxed both its quarantine and social distancing policies.
— CDC (@CDCgov) August 11, 2022
People exposed to the virus no longer are being advised to quarantine for five days if they have not tested positive and/or are not showing any symptoms.
Instead, the CDC advises those people to wear a high-quality mask for 10 days and to get tested on the fifth day.
As to testing, the agency said people without symptoms and without known exposure no longer have to undergo it.
The CDC also is dispensing with the social distancing requirement as a key way to mitigate the spread of the virus.
Are these changes overdue?
“COVID-19 continues to circulate globally, however, with so many tools available to us for reducing COVID-19 severity, there is significantly less risk of severe illness, hospitalization and death compared to earlier in the pandemic,” it said in the news release Thursday.
According to the Times, 79 percent of Americans have had at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, but only 32 percent have received an additional vaccine dose or a booster.
“The current conditions of this pandemic are very different from those of the last two years,” Greta Massetti, who leads the Field Epidemiology and Prevention Branch at the CDC, said Thursday, according to CNN.
“High levels of population immunity due to vaccination and previous infection and the many available tools to protect the general population, and protect people at higher risk, allow us to focus on protecting people from serious illness from Covid-19,” Massetti added.
The new recommendations mean schools and businesses no longer need to screen obviously healthy people by testing them for the virus.
The CDC webpage, titled “How to Protect Yourself and Others,” has had major revisions.
The claim that staying six feet from others will help alleviate the spread of the virus has been deleted, for instance.
The new language notes it might not even be possible to stay six feet from another person in your home. “In those situations, use as many prevention strategies as you can, such as practicing hand hygiene, consistently and correctly wearing a high-quality mask, improving ventilation, and keeping your distance, when possible, from the person who is sick or who tested positive,” it says.
The CDC maintains that people who test positive should self-isolate for five days. However, a negative test is no longer mentioned to exit isolation.
Some pointed out the agency seems to be admitting there is little else it can do to limit the spread of the virus.
“I think the question is, is the CDC finally saying, ‘Look, we’ve done what we can do to contain the most acute phases of this pandemic?’” said Jeanne Marrazzo, an infectious-diseases expert and clinician at the University of Alabama, Birmingham, according to The Washington Post.
“So are they just finally saying that it is time for us to sort of take a step back and think about putting this back to the individual person?” she said.
It seems these rules never had much power over the elites, anyway. Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom of California flouted the CDC’s COVID-19 recommendations, not to mention the rules he put in place himself.
It seems pretty clear that the various COVID strains will be with us for a long time, so imagining that we are going to eradicate the virus by staying six feet from others or isolating in a room for five days is laughable.
And it seems the CDC is tacitly admitting it.