CDC: Quarantining for 14 Days No Longer a Must

It offers guidelines for 7- and 10-day COVID options
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 2, 2020 10:40 AM CST
CDC Truncates Some COVID Quarantine Guidelines
A pedestrian wears a mask on Nov. 12, 2020, in Seattle.   (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Wednesday reiterated that a 14-day quarantine is best for anyone who's had exposure to COVID-19—but it also offered "two acceptable alternatives." CNBC reports the CDC's Dr. Henry Walke outlined the two other options: Quarantine can cease after 10 days if no symptoms have surfaced, or after 7 days if the person is both experiencing no symptoms and has a negative COVID test. Those who end quarantine earlier should keep tabs on their symptoms for the full 14 days following exposure, however. The CDC found that the two new types of quarantine led to a 1% and 5% risk of spreading the coronavirus to others, respectively.

Walke explained the CDC's thinking behind the move: "Reducing the length of quarantine may make it easier for people to follow critical public health action by reducing the economic hardship associated with a longer period, especially if they cannot work during that time." The Washington Post spoke with an unnamed senior federal official who also elaborated, saying the move reflects the reality that the burdensome nature of a 14-day quarantine can lead to noncompliance. The source added, "We are accepting some risk in exchange for reduction in burden that will allow us to better control this epidemic." (More coronavirus stories.)

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