U.S. health officials’ decision to shorten the recommended COVID-19 isolation and quarantine period from 10 days to five is drawing criticism from some medical experts and could create more confusion and fear among Americans, according to an Associated Press report.
To the dismay of some authorities, the new guidelines allow people to leave isolation without getting tested to see if they are still infectious.
The guidance has raised questions about how it was crafted and why it was changed now, in the middle of another wintertime spike in cases, this one driven largely by the highly contagious omicron variant.
Monday’s action by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cut in half the recommended isolation time for Americans who are infected with the coronavirus but have no symptoms. The CDC similarly shortened the amount of time people who have come into close contact with an infected person need to quarantine.
The CDC has been under pressure from the public and the private sector, including the airline industry, to shorten the isolation time and reduce the risk of severe staffing shortages amid the omicron surge. Thousands of flights have been canceled over the past few days in a mess blamed on omicron.