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CDC Relaxes Self-Isolation Recommendations

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The emergence of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 has caused a bit of a paradigm shift in the anti-viral effort. Medical researchers have confirmed that the Omicron variant is more infectious than the previous variants, even Delta; Omicron has already supplanted Delta as the dominant COVID strain in multiple major countries. However, the Omicron variant’s symptoms are also less severe than its predecessors, which may actually bring the more severe aspects of the pandemic lifestyle to a faster end as it becomes manageably endemic.

We’re already seeing such effects; today, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced an update to their COVID self-isolation guidelines. Previously, anyone who tested positive for COVID-19 would be advised to self-isolate at home for at least 10 days to give the virus time to run its course. However, new studies show that the majority of the viral particles a COVID-positive person sheds only occurs in the first few days of infection. As such, the CDC has made a tweak: if someone tests positive for COVID, but isn’t experiencing any symptoms, then they are only advised to self-isolate for 5 days. If they’re still asymptomatic, they can safely go outside, though it is advised they wear a mask.

“The Omicron variant is spreading quickly and has the potential to impact all facets of our society,” said the CDC’s director, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, in a statement. “CDC’s updated recommendations for isolation and quarantine balance what we know about the spread of the virus and the protection provided by vaccination and booster doses. These updates ensure people can safely continue their daily lives.”

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