The Washington Post reported that the Center for Disease Control (CDC) officials announced on December 3, 2020 that quarantine travel guidelines have been revised. Instead of the suggested 14 days, now the CDC guidelines state that 10 days or even seven can help limit rampant spread of the virus.
This comes off the heels of the agency’s acknowledgement that the two-week quarantine regulation is burdens to many people and a more flexible approach would better benefit overall public health.
The CDC’s updated recommendation also stated someone planning to travel should get a test one to three days in advance and then be tested again three to five days after returning. Ahead of Thanksgiving, the agency also doubled down on its holiday recommendation against travel this holiday season amid an uptick in US COVID-19, claiming more than 1,500 lives day-to-day.
The CDC has expressed extreme concern over the rate at which the virus is spreading. “Cases are rising. Hospitalizations are increasing. Deaths are increasing. We need to try to bend the curve, stop this exponential increase,” Henry Walke, the CDC incident manager for the coronavirus, said during the news briefing. He emphasized the importance of preventing the initial infections: “We’re really asking the American public to prevent these infections, avoid travel, wash their hands, wear a mask and maintain distance.”
Although the original 14-day quarantine recommendation is still advised, the revised plan offers two “acceptable alternative quarantine periods,” Walke said. If testing is readily available, the quarantine can end after a week once a negative test is confirmed if a person tests negative for the virus at some point in the final two days of that period. The test can be either a rapid-response antigen test or the more reliable PCR test that takes longer to process.
Quarantines apply to those who have been exposed to the virus but have no confirmed infection or illness. The goal is to keep infected individuals apart from the rest of the population to bend the curve.