Aug 15, 2022 - News

CDC updates COVID quarantine guidelines

Illustration of a dead tree with surgical masks on the branches blowing in the wind.  
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Nearly two and a half years since COVID-19 altered our sense of space and safety, the CDC is loosening its guidelines on social distancing and quarantining.

Why it matters: The shift marks a significant change in the country's approach to the pandemic. A majority of Americans are now fully vaccinated against the virus or have been exposed to it, Axios' Sareen Habeshian reports.

Details: People who were exposed to COVID no longer need to quarantine unless they test positive or develop symptoms, per the CDC's new guidelines.

  • Similar to people who are vaccinated, unvaccinated people should test on the fifth day after the exposure and wear a high-quality mask for 10 days.
  • In most community settings, the CDC no longer recommends screening asymptomatic people who haven't had a known exposure to COVID.

What they're saying: "This guidance acknowledges that the pandemic is not over, but also helps us move to a point where COVID-19 no longer severely disrupts our daily lives," senior CDC epidemiologist Greta Massetti said in a statement.

Yes, but: You should still isolate if you test positive for COVID or suspect that you have it, regardless of your vaccination status. Read the rules for when your isolation can end.

By the numbers: 75% of Texans, around 21.5 million people, have gotten at least one COVID vaccine so far.

  • As of late July, unvaccinated people in Texas were 11 times more likely than vaccinated people to test positive for COVID and 35 times more likely to die of COVID complications.
  • Over 1 million people in the U.S. — and more than 6,600 in Dallas County — have died of COVID complications since the start of the pandemic, but deaths and hospitalizations have declined dramatically since the introduction of vaccines.

Be smarter: Dallas County is still advising "extreme caution" and has its COVID risk level set to orange.

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