In response to an increase in cases, US health officials have cut the recommended isolation time for persons with asymptomatic Covid-19 from 10 to 5 days.
The technique is likely to reduce the disruption caused by infection-related worker shortages in numerous places.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), most transmissions occur two days before and three days after symptoms appear.
Experts, on the other hand, have blasted the lack of testing criteria for ending isolation.
The Omicron version of the virus, which is currently prevalent in the United States, has fueled the rapid increase in infections. According to early research, Omicron is more contagious than other variations, although being milder.
The rising number of people forced to isolate has put strain on various industries, including air transport, which saw thousands of flights cancelled over the holidays.
As cancellations continued for a fourth day on Tuesday, leaders of major US airlines were among those pressing for a change.
The new guidelines were “driven by science,” according to the CDC, and the isolation must be followed by five days of wearing a mask among other people. More than 200,000 daily infections have been reported in the last two days across the country, according to the release.
The suggestion “balances what we know about the virus’s propagation and the protection given by vaccine and booster doses,” according to CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky.
“These improvements ensure that individuals may go about their regular lives in a secure manner,” Dr. Walensky said in a statement.
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However, taking fast at-home testing before the end of their isolation periods was not recommended. Many specialists believe that such testing can help determine whether people are still spreading the infection.
The lack of such a mandate, according to Dr. Michael Mina, an assistant professor at Harvard’s TH Chan School of Public Health, is “reckless.”
He remarked on Twitter, “I absolutely do not want to sit next to someone who became Positive 5 days ago and hasn’t tested [negative].”
In England, people must now isolate for seven days rather than ten, with two negative lateral flow tests required to stop their self-isolation – the first no earlier than day six and the second no later than 24 hours.
The CDC decision, according to the top US infectious disease expert, will allow people to return to work more quickly, calling it “extremely cautious” and a “excellent choice.”
“With the sheer volume of new instances that we’re experiencing and that we expect to continue with Omicron,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, who also serves as President Joe Biden’s chief medical adviser, said, “one of the things we want to be careful about is that we don’t have so many people out.”