The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that the country should drop its Covid-19 restrictions like social distancing and quarantine protocols. The agency recommended that the government should now focus on addressing the effects of the diseases caused by the virus.
The CDC released a new guideline last Thursday which laid out their recommendations including the social distancing rule that has been one of the widely implemented interventions to stop the spread of Covid-19.
This recommendation, coming from one of the top health agencies in the country, is an indicator that there is progress in the US’s fight against Covid-19. As far as the vaccination is concerned, almost a hundred percent of the entire US population has developed immunity against the virus.
“The current conditions of this pandemic are very different from those of the last two years,” said Greta Massetti, the leader of the CDC’s Field Epidemiology and Prevention Branch.
“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.”
What the guidelines say
The new guidelines released by the CDC also said that regular Covid-19 testing and contact tracing should now only be done to high-risk areas. These include hospitals, nursing homes, and prisons. It has also played down several quarantine protocols, such as allowing exposed individuals but negative to not be quarantined.
While there is a new set of recommendations placed by the CDC, there are also sections which remain the same. For instance, the CDC still urges people to undergo Covid-19 testing for people experiencing symptoms. Further, if a person is diagnosed with Covid, the patient should remain at home for 5 days and wear face mask for 10 days.
There are also changes with the rules on isolating affected individuals. Patients who experience moderate symptoms and those hospitalized should stay inside their houses for at least 10 days. People who are immunocompromised should check with their doctors before being cleared with their isolation.
A way to gain public trust?
The guidelines set by the CDC is a confirmation that health officials have already accepted that Covid is now part of the community and it will now permanently reside within the countries it has affected. The recommended safety rules might be a step to co-exist with the virus with minimal disruptions in to work and academic undertakings. However, others experts think otherwise.
An infectious disease specialist at the University of California, Dr. Peter Chin-Hong, said, “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.”
An epidemiologist working for Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health also agrees with Chan-Hong. “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,” he said.
“This revision does not go anywhere near enough to correct the problems of flawed recommendations and lack of evidence,” added Dr. Eric Topol, a cardiologist from the Scripps Research Institute.
New safety advice from the CDC
The CDC said that practices to prevent the spread and cure Covid-19 should continue.
“These recent changes recognize the importance of protecting those most at risk of severe illness, while also standardizing some basic good public health hygiene for the long-term for those less at risk,” said the National Association of County and City Health Officials CEO, Lori Tremmel Freeman.
“It’s important that we make it as easy as possible for people to continue to protect themselves and others around them as we live with Covid,” she added.