The Centers for Disease Control and Control (CDC) on Thursday loosened numerous COVID-19 community guidelines, a significant change that places more emphasis on coping with the virus than on strict infection prevention.
The new guidance places the responsibility for determining one’s own personal risk levels on the individual rather than on organizations, governments, or educational institutions. CDC said it would concentrate on safeguarding those who are most at risk of developing serious illnesses.
According to CDC authorities, the revised recommendations reflect that the majority of people have some level of protection against the virus, either through earlier infection or from vaccine, and are therefore unlikely to get critically ill.
“The COVID-19 virus is still circulating throughout the world. But more significantly, Greta Massetti, an epidemiologist with the CDC, said during a briefing that the pandemic’s present circumstances are quite different from those of the previous two years.
Massetti remarked, “This advise acknowledges that the epidemic is not over, but also helps us get to a position where COVID-19 no longer significantly interrupts our daily life.”
The modifications reveal a covert shift from the Biden administration, which came under fire for continuing to advocate stringent preventative measures long after vaccines and antiviral medications were readily accessible.
The agency stated in a report that accompanied the new recommendations that these therapies and preventative measures “now allow public health efforts to minimize the individual and societal health impacts of COVID-19 by focusing on sustainable measures to further reduce medically significant illness as well as to minimize strain on the health care system, while reducing barriers to social, educational, and economic activity.”
The newest BA.5 subvariant of omicron has spread a significant wave of illnesses throughout the nation, but among those who had vaccinations, the majority of them have been moderate and have not required hospitalization. Officials have stressed that past infection does not provide much, if any, protection from BA.5.
With the exception of specific high-risk communal settings and healthcare settings, the revised guidelines no longer advocate case inquiry and contact tracing.
The revised guidelines also treat a COVID-19 exposure the same way whether the exposed person is immunized or not.
Prior guidance recommended five days of quarantine for anyone who was unvaccinated and lived close to an infectious person, even if they tested negative and showed no symptoms. Inoculated individuals could avoid quarantine.
There is no quarantine recommendation in the new regulations.
The organization no longer advises physical separation, instead urging people to think about the risk in particular contexts.
Asymptomatic individuals without known exposures will no longer be recommended for screening testing by the CDC, with the exception of a few high-risk environments including jails and nursing homes.
In general community settings, screening testing may not be economical, particularly if COVID-19 prevalence is low, according to CDC research.
Schools, workplaces, and daycare facilities will most likely be the areas where the screening change will be most noticeable.
The CDC no longer advises students to avoid cohorting, or mixing with other classes, in the classroom.
The “test-to-stay” advice, which was intended to keep kids exposed to COVID-19 in the classroom as long as they showed no symptoms and consistently tested negative, was also dropped.
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