COVID-19 guidelines may be relaxed by CDC. Why this indicates a shift to a new ‘phase of post-pandemic world,’ expert says

Key Takeaways

  • The CDC is expected to end the five-day isolation minimum for people with COVID-19, something one Northeastern said is a ‘good sign’ of how we’ve learned to manage infection.

By Erin Kayata

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention may be loosening COVID-19 isolation guidelines for the first time since 2021, recommending that people leave isolation once their symptoms subside, regardless of how many days it’s been since they tested positive.

The new guidelines will state that people can leave isolation as soon as their symptoms improve and they’re fever-free for 24 hours without medication, according to CDC officials who spoke to The Washington Post on the condition of anonymity. People without symptoms don’t have to isolate at all.

The new guidelines are expected to be officially released in April.

It’s a sign the United States is shifting in its approach to COVID to one more similar to the flu, said Neil Maniar, director of the master of public health in urban health program and professor of the practice at Northeastern University.

“It’s not surprising,” Maniar said. “It’s just another indication that we are moving to a very different phase of our post-pandemic world. COVID is something that is now just part of our lives as a part of the background. We have a number of tools to both protect ourselves from COVID and to limit as much as possible the severity of illness. I would see it as a good sign that we are much better at managing COVID.”

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