Two senior administration officials have stated that Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Robert Redfield informed Vice President Mike Pence and White House Coronavirus Task Force members on Tuesday that the CDC will soon issue new guidelines that will reduce the quarantine period from 14 to 10 days.
According to the new guidelines that are set to go into effect very soon, the CDC will allow people who have come in contact with someone infected with the virus to resume normal activity after 10 days. Meanwhile, if the quarantined individual tests negative for the virus, the period will be brought down to 7 days. This is quite the respite as opposed to the 14-day period recommended since the onset of the pandemic. Previously in July, the agency shortened, from 14 days to 10, its advice on how long a person should stay in isolation after they first experience COVID symptoms, provided they’re no longer sick.
According to an internal CDC document acquired by Fox, it is stated “Quarantine is used to keep someone who might have been exposed to COVID-19 away from others. Quarantine helps prevent the spread of disease that can occur before a person knows they have the virus,” the document states. “CDC and other scientists have explored changing the current recommendation to quarantine for 14 days. Reducing the length of quarantine may increase compliance by reducing economic hardship,” the document continues. “In addition, the reduction in time will lessen stress on the public health system, especially when new infections are rapidly rising.”
Also, recently, the CDC updated its definition of close contact with a Covid-19 patient to include multiple, brief exposures. The current definition includes exposures adding up to a total of 15 minutes spent six feet or closer to an infected person. Previously, the CDC defined close contact as 15 minutes of continuous exposure to an infected individual.
The official who revealed the decision under the condition of anonymity said the policy change has been discussed for some time and is based on data-driven results, as scientists have studied the incubation period for the virus. While the CDC had said the incubation period for the virus was thought to extend to 14 days, most individuals became infectious and developed symptoms between 4 and 5 days after exposure.
The officials also stated that during the meeting, health experts continued to stress the importance of communicating and implementing mitigation measures to decrease the alarming number of coronavirus cases across the country. Until now, the virus has infected more than 13.5 million Americans and killed at least 270,000.