What the New C.D.C. Guidelines Mean for You

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention eased many of its Covid-19 guidelines this week, sharply moving away from some precautions that have long defined the pandemic, such as quarantine and social distancing.

The move reflects the fact that many Americans now have some degree of immunity to coronavirus through a combination of vaccinations and previous infections, and the fact that vaccines, booster shots, and vaccines that can reduce the risk of severe disease can reduce the risk of serious illness. Facilitated by the availability of viral drugs.

Part of Public Health’s goal in issuing the new guidance was to streamline its recommendations and help people manage their own risks. is included.

Here are answers to frequently asked questions about what the guidelines mean.

The CDC has not completely abandoned the idea of ​​social distancing. keep your distance from others As one of many strategies people can use to reduce risk.

Older guidelines recommended that people who haven’t received vaccination updates “keep at least 6 feet away from other people” in indoor public spaces.

Now, officials are recommending that people “want to avoid crowded places” or maintain their distance from others to minimize exposure to the virus. It may be particularly important for people at high risk of severe Covid-19, officials note.

General mask guidelines have not changed. CDC continues to recommend that everyone ages 2 and older wear a suitable mask in public indoor spaces. Covid-19 community level is expensive. According to guidelines, people at high risk of severe illness should wear masks even when their community is at moderate levels.

almost 40% of the county According to the CDC, community levels are high across the country.

As a precaution, the CDC was recommending that people who were in close contact with someone who did not have current vaccination information get vaccinated. With Covid-19, we stay home for at least five days, a practice known as quarantine. (According to previous guidelines, people who were up to date on immunizations did not need to be quarantined if they were asymptomatic.)

One of the biggest changes in the new guidance, the quarantine recommendation, has been retired.

“Quarantine is kind of a blunt instrument,” said Jennifer Nuzzo, director of the Pandemic Center at the Brown University School of Public Health. “I think we need to change the way we think about controlling this virus.”

ok people exposed person As long as you are asymptomatic, you can continue with your daily life regardless of your vaccination status. However, you should wear an appropriate mask for the full 10 days, monitor for symptoms, take extra safety precautions around vulnerable people, and be tested for at least 5 days after exposure.

If you use an at-home antigen test, you may need to repeat the test yourself. To reduce the risk of false-negative results, an asymptomatic person should be tested at least three times, 48 ​​hours apart, according to the Food and Drug Administration’s new recommendations. People with symptoms of Covid-19 should have at least two tests 48 hours apart.

Dr. Michael Mina, a former epidemiologist at Harvard University and now chief scientific officer of eMed, which sells home testing, said: “It goes up, it takes time”

Isolate at home for at least 5 days and keep your distance from other family members. This recommendation has not changed.

If you remain asymptomatic during the quarantine period, or your symptoms improve and you are fever-free for at least one day, the guidelines allow you to end the quarantine after five days.

Previously, the CDC recommended that people with Covid-19 wear masks for 10 full days. The new guidelines allow people to remove their masks sooner if he has tested negative on two rapid antigen tests more than 48 hours apart. Others have to keep the mask on for her 10 days.

Anyone who has experienced moderate to severe illness or has a compromised immune system should quarantine for at least 10 days, officials said.

According to new guidelines, if symptoms return after isolation, the isolation period should be restarted.

Theoretically, the new guidelines could go a long way from some of the restrictive measures that have been difficult to implement, including navigating a different set of rules for vaccinated and unvaccinated people. of schools and businesses can be liberated. Quarantine has been particularly devastating and divisive in schools.

Under the new guidelines, children who have been in close contact with someone with Covid-19 will not have to stay at home, and schools will not need to conduct frequent tests to keep these children in the classroom. A test to stay. According to the CDC, contact tracing and regular surveillance testing of asymptomatic individuals is no longer necessary in most settings.

In practice, the new guidelines may not change much for many schools that have moved further away from these measures.For example, Massachusetts is Quarantine requirements for asymptomatic children May.

Still, some districts and officials are taking cues from federal guidance, and some local governments may relax rules next school year.

“We welcome these guidelines,” Randy Weingarten, president of the Federation of American Teachers, said in a statement Thursday. “Every educator and every parent starts each school year with high hopes, but even more so this year. I need a year as normal as possible so I can focus on it.”

In an email to The New York Times on Friday, the New York State Department of Health said it was considering new CDC recommendations and would issue its own back-to-school guidance “soon.”

The New York City Department of Health and Mental Health said Friday it is also reviewing new federal guidelines and is finalizing plans for the upcoming school year.

CDC’s guidelines Schools experiencing outbreaks may wish to temporarily adopt additional precautions, such as surveillance testing, contact tracing, wearing masks, and opening windows and doors to improve ventilation. says there is

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