The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has shortened the recommended period for quarantine and isolation. This should help airlines, in particular, as they struggle with staffing shortages as well as stranded travelers.
The time period for isolation has been shortened from 10 days for people with COVID-19 to five days, if asymptomatic, followed by five days of wearing a mask when around others.
The CDC said that this recommendation comes from research that indicates the majority of SARS-CoV-2 transmission occurs early in the course of illness, generally in the one to two days prior to the onset of symptoms and the two to three days after.
Quarantine timeframes for those who have been exposed to COVID-19 have also changed. Now, the recommended time for quarantine is five days followed by strict mask use for an additional five days. If those who have been exposed cannot quarantine for five days, the CDC says that an exposed person should wear a well-fitting mask at all times when around others for 10 days after exposure.
“The Omicron variant is spreading quickly and has the potential to impact all facets of our society,” said CDC director, Dr. Rochelle Walensky. “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. Prevention is our best option: get vaccinated, get boosted, wear a mask in public indoor settings in areas of substantial and high community transmission, and take a test before you gather.”
Research from the United Kingdom and South Africa found that booster shots restore immunity to around 75 percent. Those who are more than six months from their original two-dose vaccine regimen are only about 35 percent protected.
According to the CDC, the COVID-19 vaccines greatly reduce the chance of hospitalization and death and the CDC is encouraging everyone age five and older to get the shot and for those who have had two shots and are older than 16 to get a booster.