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Coronavirus Watch

CDC Ends Social Distancing Recommendations

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released yesterday new guidelines for Covid-19 ending social distancing recommendations which states “the nation should move away from restrictive measures such as quarantines and social distancing and focus on reducing severe disease from Covid-19”.

Quoting CDC’s Greta Massetti, head of the Field Epidemiology and Prevention Branch, and the the new guidelines CNN writes:

  • “The current conditions of this pandemic are very different from those of the last two years.
  • “High levels of population immunity due to vaccination and previous infection and the many available tools to protect the general population, and protect people at higher risk, allow us to focus on protecting people from serious illness from Covid-19.
  • “Contact tracing, another hallmark during the pandemic, should be limited to hospitals and certain high-risk group-living situations such as nursing homes, and the guidelines de-emphasize the use of regular testing to screen for Covid-19, except in certain high-risk settings like nursing homes and prisons.
  • “It encourages testing for people with symptoms and their close contacts. It also says people who test positive should stay home for at least five days and wear a mask around others for 10 days. It also continues to recommend that people wear masks indoors in about half the country.
  • “The new guidelines also tailor advice on isolation for people who became very sick from Covid-19. People with moderate symptoms — such as shortness of breath — and those who were hospitalized should stay home for at least 10 days. People with compromised immune systems should now talk to their doctor about ending their isolation after an infection.
  • “There’s new advice on what to do if your Covid-19 symptoms rebound, too. If you end isolation and your Covid-19 symptoms get worse, you should start isolation over again and see your doctor.

Commenting on the new CDC guidelines, Dr. Peter Chin-Hong, an infectious disease specialist at the University of California at San Francisco, told CNN “I think they just overall come into alignment with what people are doing anyway. […] What the CDC is, in my opinion, trying to do, they are trying to still be relevant, and maybe when they say something, people will listen to them instead of being completely 180 degrees away from what behavior is anyway.”

Bill Hanage, an epidemiologist at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, also told CNN “I think that this is a point where you actually have to sort of get real and start giving people tools they can use to do something or not. Because otherwise, people will just will not take you seriously.”

Likewise, Dr. Eric Topol, a cardiologist at Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California, a CDC critics told to CNN “This revision does not go anywhere near enough to correct the problems of flawed recommendations and lack of evidence”.