CDC changes testing and self-quarantine guidelines

CDC changes testing and self-quarantine guidelines

Public health experts have advocated mass testing as a means of identifying virus cases and preventing further spread, but the United States has yet to achieve a system of widespread, easy-to-access, quick-turnaround screenings.

But researchers long suspected that the virus could travel much farther, especially indoors and in places where people talk loudly or sing. Infamously, one infected person in March unknowingly passed covid-19 to 52 others at a choir practice in Washington state.

Experts are anxious the CDC guidance, which applied to both asymptomatic close contacts as well as those who attended large, risky gatherings but had no symptoms, would exacerbate those challenges. The CDC changed its advice on Friday.

The Infectious Disease Society of America released a statement criticizing the move as well, saying, "As a nation our goal should be to expand testing capacity to allow for testing of all recommended individuals, including asymptomatic people who have been exposed".

Earlier, the CDC website, which was updated on Friday, said that coronavirus spreads mainly when in close contact - about 6 feet - and through respiratory droplets when a person with the virus "coughs, sneezes or talks", according to CNN.

The coronavirus spreads more often in the air, through droplets or other tiny respiratory particles that can apparently remain suspended and inhaled, according to new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "This is thought to be the main way the virus spreads". "In general, indoor environments without good ventilation increase this risk", it said.

The NYT also reported that scientists at the CDC strenuously objected to the new guidelines but were told by senior staff in an email obtained by the NYT that: "We do not have the ability to make substantial edits". "However, social distancing is hard on crowded flights, and sitting within 6 feet of others, sometimes for hours, may increase your risk of getting COVID-19".

Previously, CDC suggested maintaining "good social distance" of about 6 feet, washing hands, routinely cleaning and disinfecting surfaces and covering your mouth and nose with a mask when around others.

Masks, it notes, should not replace other prevention measures.

It also now says that people have to stay at home and be isolated if they are sick.

While CDC generated the original draft, the sources say officials at HHS-CDC's parent organization-rewrote the guidance and "dropped" it onto CDC's public website without undergoing the strict scientific review process that normally applies.

The update also changed language around asymptomatic transmission, shifting from saying "some people without symptoms may be able to spread the virus" to saying "people who are infected but do not show symptoms can spread the virus to others".

Related Articles