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CDC may lift 5-day isolation guidelines for COVID-19

The New York Daily News - 2/14/2024

The five-day isolation guideline for COVID-19 could soon be lifted, allowing those afflicted to mix in society once their symptoms have abated, according to a new report.

While the guidelines posted since 2021 entail isolating for at least five days after a positive COVID-19 test and masking for five days after that, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is about to tweak that.

If a person’s fever is gone for at least 24 hours without the need for medication to bring it down, and symptoms are mild and improving, isolation is not necessary, three CDC officials told The Washington Post.

It’s the same type of guidance accorded to the flu and RSV. California and Oregon have already instituted similar measures, as have several European countries.

In the U.S., COVID-19 is still killing about 2,300 people a week, according to CDC figures, while 15,000 people have died of the flu since Oct. 1.

“It’s like saying, ‘Well, people aren’t really wearing their seatbelts, so I guess we can say seatbelts don’t matter,” epidemiologist Jessica Malaty Rivera told NPR. “That kind of defeats the purpose of providing evidence-based information. That’s still the responsibility of public health to do that.”

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