The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is currently weighing the possibility of shortening the mandatory quarantine period from 14 days to 7-10 days. A top official of the agency told reporters that this move might make it possible for more people to quarantine when they have been exposed to the virus. The plan has however not been finalized as a spokesperson of the agency told reporters that the move is still being considered.
“The agency regularly reviews its recommendations as public health experts make more helpful findings of the coronavirus, the virus responsible for COVID-19,” the spokesperson explained. “At the right time, the CDC will make adjustments to its recommendations and guidance as it sees fit.”
Henry Walke, head of the CDC’s COVID-19 Response, stated during an interview that the new recommendations will mandate that people can only get out of quarantine when they test negative for COVID-19. He explained that it is only in rare cases that people who have tested negative end up developing infections. As such it would be safe for people who have tested negative to end quarantine early.
“With everything we have in place right now including studies and recent data it is clear that with testing it is very possible to shorten the period of quarantine,” Walke said to reporters.
Walke did not state what type of testing would be required or when the testing will take place for quarantine to end. He however expressed hope that shortening the time of quarantine will encourage more people to participate, Fox News reports.
The CDC currently advises that people who have had close contact with those who have COVID-19 quarantine for 14 days regardless of whether they feel sick or not because the incubation period for the virus is 14 days. People who have had close contact with anyone that has tested positive are advised to quarantine and avoid getting exposed to the virus again so that they don’t get infected and if they are already infected, they don’t transmit it to others.
The CDC’s consideration about reducing the period of quarantine is coming at a time when the country’s hope for a vaccine is becoming more of a reality. On Tuesday, Robert Redfield, the CDC’s director told reporters during an interview that a vaccine will probably be available by mid-December. He explained that public health care workers and senior citizens will get the vaccines first before it spreads to other members of the population.