This week in COVID: CDC loosens quarantine guidelines, FDA recommends 3 home tests, new data on long COVID




  • In Health
  • 2022-08-12 17:52:16Z
  • By USA TODAY
 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced updated COVID-19 guidelines Thursday, easing back quarantine recommendations for people who aren't current with their vaccines.

Like fully vaccinated Americans, those who haven't received their primary series or recommended boosters now do not need to quarantine themselves if they come into close contact with an infected person.

The agency also said people who test positive for the virus but are asymptomatic or see symptoms improve quickly can isolate for a shorter period, instead of the previously recommended five days.

The CDC continues to say people who test positive should isolate from others for at least five days, regardless of vaccination status.

The updated recommendations come as nearly 40% of the country report high COVID-19 community levels, according to the CDC map. A USA TODAY analysis of Johns Hopkins University data shows hospitals in 19 states reported more COVID patients than a week earlier, while hospitals in 20 states had more patients in intensive care beds.

It's "a positive sign that advances in vaccines and treatments have significantly lowered the risk of severe illness, hospitalization and death from the disease," said Dr. Daniel P. McQuillen, president of the Infectious Diseases Society of America. "However, with much of the country experiencing higher than 20% transmission rates, we cannot let our guard down."

Also in the news:

► President Joe Biden finally left isolation Sunday after testing negative for COVID-19 twice. Biden had isolated inside the White House since July 30 after testing positive from a rebound case.

► About 97% of schools across the country are not requiring masks as kids gear up to return to school, according to data from school

► Germany's health minister said European Union drug regulators are expected to meet Sept. 1 to consider a vaccine that would protect against the original virus and the omicron variant.

► Masks will once again be required for visitors inside all Great Smoky Mountains National Park buildings due to the high transmission of COVID-19, according to the park's website.

????What we're reading: After a two-year hiatus during the pandemic, the flu may be back this season - and with a vengeance. Read more here.

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