ROUNDUP: US authorities shorten recommended isolation time after corona infection
Hand disinfection and face mask © pixabay.com
WASHINGTON (dpa-AFX) – The US health authority CDC is shortening the recommended isolation period after a corona infection from ten to five days. The reason is scientific evidence that most infections occur early in the course of the disease – usually in the one to two days before the onset of symptoms and in the two to three days after, the CDC announced on Monday (local time). So far, the CDC had recommended isolation for ten days. The authorities understand isolation as the time after a confirmed infection. A German expert considers the procedure to be problematic.
The shortening is now recommended when those affected no longer have symptoms and wear a mask for another five days when they are near others. “The Omikron variant is spreading rapidly and has the potential to affect all facets of our society,” said CDC boss Rochelle Walensky. The new recommendations were intended to ensure that people could safely get on with their daily lives.
The epidemiologist Hajo Zeeb from the Leibniz Institute for Prevention Research and Epidemiology in Bremen considers the CDC recommendation to be problematic, “because everything is based on self-assessment”. Even after five days one could of course still be infectious, “and whether wearing a mask is enough is questionable”. In his opinion, a negative test to terminate the isolation would be better.
“Here the risk assessment was made in such a way that the infections that still occur after five days are less significant overall and, on the other hand, securing the infrastructures then has priority,” explained Zeeb. “I can well imagine that even in Germany we will not stick to the 14-day isolation without freestyle in the long term if we have the expected increasing numbers.”
For such a decision, however, there should already be good figures on the temporal pattern of the infectiousness of Omikron as a basis. “I’m curious to see what the expert council will find there,” said Zeeb.
CSU boss Markus Söder reiterated his call for a revision of the quarantine regulations. “Of course we have to review the current quarantine rules. With a rapidly growing epidemic, we cannot simply paralyze the whole country from one day to the next,” said the Bavarian Prime Minister of the “Bild” newspaper (Wednesday). “This not only applies to the critical infrastructure, but also to the normal life of people.”
The CDC is also adjusting the guidelines for quarantine – they apply to people who have had contact with an infected person. For people who are not or not fully vaccinated against Corona, a quarantine of five instead of ten days may also be recommended. In order to be able to bypass the quarantine completely, it now also plays a role whether those affected have received a booster vaccination.
The CDC guidelines are not regulations, but recommendations for employers and state and local authorities.
In the USA, companies recently called for the isolation time to be shortened due to the surge in new corona infections. As a result, the CDC had already reduced the length of isolation for health workers last week. There have been significant flight cancellations in the United States in the past few days. One reason for this was the infections with the new Omikron variant, which is dominant in the USA. As a result, airlines had advertised a shorter isolation period./nau/DP/stw
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