CDC streamlines COVID-19 guidance to help public better protect themselves and understand their risk | CDC Online Newsroom

Today, the CDC is streamlining its COVID-19 guidance to help people better understand their risk, how to protect themselves and others, what actions to take if exposed to COVID-19, and what actions to take if are sick or have tested positive for the virus. COVID-19 continues to circulate globally, but with so many tools available to reduce the burden of COVID-19, there is a significantly lower risk of severe illness, hospitalization, and death than earlier in the pandemic.

“Today, we are in a stronger position as a nation, with more tools — such as vaccination, boosters and treatments — to protect ourselves and our communities from severe illness from COVID-19,” said Greta Massetti, PhD, MPH, Author of MMWR. “We also better understand how to protect people from exposure to the virus, such as wearing high-quality masks, testing and improved ventilation.” This guidance recognizes that the pandemic is not over, but also helps us move to a point where COVID-19 no longer severely disrupts our daily lives.”

In support of this update, CDC is:

  • Continue to promote the importance of up-to-date vaccination to protect people from serious illness, hospitalization and death. The protection afforded by the current vaccine against symptomatic infection and transmission is less than that against severe disease and diminishes over time, particularly against currently circulating variants. For this reason, it is important to stay up to date, especially as new vaccines become available.
  • Updating the guidance for people who are not up to date on COVID-19 vaccines on what to do if they are exposed to someone with COVID-19. This is in line with existing guidelines for people who are up-to-date on COVID-19 vaccines.
  • It is recommended that instead of quarantine, if you have been exposed to COVID-19, you wear a high-quality mask for 10 days and get tested on the 5th day.
  • Reiterating that regardless of vaccination status, you should isolate yourself from others when you have COVID-19.
    • You should also self-isolate if you are sick and suspect you have COVID-19 but do not yet have test results.
      • If your results are positive, follow CDC recommendations for complete isolation.
      • If your results are negative, you can end your isolation.
  • It is recommended that if you test positive for COVID-19, you stay home for at least 5 days and isolate yourself from others in your home. You are probably most contagious during those first 5 days. Wear a high-quality mask when you need to be around others at home and in public.
    • If after 5 days you do not have a temperature for 24 hours without the use of medication and your symptoms improve or you have never had symptoms, you can end the isolation after the 5th day.
    • Regardless of when you end isolation, avoid being around people who are more likely to get sick with COVID-19 until at least day 11.
    • You should wear a high-quality mask until the 10th day.
  • Recommended if you have had a moderate illness
  • Recommended if you have had a severe illness
  • We clarify that after you end isolation, if your symptoms of COVID-19 worsen, restart your isolation on day 0. Talk to a healthcare provider if you have questions about your symptoms or when to end isolation.
  • Recommending screening tests to asymptomatic people with no known exposures will no longer be recommended in most communities.
  • Emphasizing that physical distancing is only one component of how to protect yourself and others. It is important to consider the risk in a particular setting, including local community levels of COVID-19 and the important role of ventilation, when assessing the need for physical distancing.

Actions to be taken will continue to be informed by the community tiers on COVID-19 launched in February. CDC will continue to focus its efforts on preventing severe illness and conditions after COVID, while ensuring that everyone has the information and tools they need to reduce their risk.

This updated guide is intended to apply to community settings. In the coming weeks, CDC will work to align stand-alone guidance documents, such as those for health care facilities, gathering places at higher risk of transmission, and travel, with today’s update.

Leave a Comment