CDC to End Five-Day COVID Isolation Rule

    CDC to End Five-Day COVID Isolation Rule
    Photo: Richard Stabler/Getty Images News via Getty Images

    The Facts

    • The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is reportedly planning to end its current recommendation of isolation for five days after testing positive for COVID.

    • Once implemented, the isolation policy change, the first since the five-day suggestion took effect in 2021, will reportedly recommend that people no longer need to isolate once they've had no fever for 24 hours and their symptoms are mild or improving.

    The Spin

    Narrative A

    The problem with comparing COVID to the flu or RSV is that the latter pair of illnesses can't lead to long forms, as is the case with Long COVID. The five-day isolation rule was and still should be used to ensure that those who have contracted the illness — whether asymptomatic or not — don't give it to someone else who could then develop long-term issues.

    Narrative B

    Isolating over minor symptoms was something we did early during COVID — but the pandemic is now over and it's time to move on. One of the most serious issues related to this is the skyrocketing rates of chronic absenteeism across America's schools. Despite most governments having dropped old COVID rules, record numbers of students are still using the memory of the pandemic as an excuse to skip class and stop learning.

    Nerd narrative

    There is a 5% chance that a new SARS-CoV-2 variant classified as a VOC (Variant of Concern) or worse will result in at least 20,000 daily incident COVID hospitalizations in the United States before July 1, 2025, according to Metaculus community prediction.

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