CDC Will Shorten COVID-19 Self-Quarantine Recommendation from Two Weeks to Between Seven and Ten Days

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the CDC, is finalizing a new self-quarantine recommendation for people possibly exposed to COVID-19, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The federal agency is looking to decrease the self-quarantine recommendation from a full two weeks to between seven and ten days.

Dr. Henry Walke, the CDC’s COVID-19 response manager, told the Wall Street Journal that the new recommendation still includes a test to ensure that the person is negative.

“We do think that the work that we’ve done, and some of the studies we have and the modeling data that we have, shows that we can with testing shorten quarantines,” he said.

If a test comes back negative, he added, “then their probability of going on and developing an infection after that is pretty low.”

There is a risk that some infections would be missed, Dr. Walke said, but it may be worth the potential trade-off. “Hopefully, people would be better able to adhere to quarantine if it was, for example, seven to 10 days,” he said.

The two-week recommendation was meant to cover the maximum number of days that a person could potentially go between infection and displaying symptoms. But further research and data collection, as well as general pandemic weariness, have rendered two-week quarantines unnecessary and undesirable.

According to the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, half of all people who display symptoms fall ill five or six days after infection. Only two percent fall ill two weeks after infection.

It’s good to see some adjustment now that we know much more about the virus than we did a few months ago. Two-week quarantines are overkill in the vast majority of cases, and the science appears to back that up.