- The recommended 14-day quarantine period for Americans exposed to COVID-19 may soon be shortened by the Center for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC).
- Officials are finalizing plans for the quarantine period, which could be short, up to seven to ten days, Dr. Henry Walke, CDC COVID-19 response incident manager, told the Wall Street Journal on Tuesday.
- Walke says people need to take the COVID-19 test before quarantining.
- People are more likely to follow the rules if the quarantine is shorter, he said. “Hopefully people would be better able to enforce quarantine if it were seven to ten days, for example.”
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The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) plans to shorten the recommended time that Americans should quarantine after COVID-19 exposure.
Currently, the CDC recommends that people be quarantined for 14 days after coming into contact with someone suffering from the coronavirus.
But CDC officials are now finalizing plans for a new quarantine period that could take up to seven days, Henry Street Walke, the agency’s head of COVID-19 response, told the Wall Street Journal on Tuesday.
“Hopefully, people would be better able to comply with quarantine if it were seven to ten days, for example,” he said.
People also need to take a COVID-19 test to make sure they are virus-free before they leave quarantine, he added.
Walke said agency officials are discussing exactly how long to keep in quarantine and what type of test people get to get out of self-quarantine.
“We believe that the work we have done, as well as some of the studies we have and the modeling data we have, show that we are able to shorten quarantines through testing,” he said.
If someone shows a negative result for COVID-19, it is quite unlikely that it will continue and an infection will develop afterwards, ”he added.
The CDC did not respond immediately to Business Insider’s request for comment.
In October, CDC director Dr. Robert Redfield said in a briefing that the agency is working to reduce the length of quarantine by up to a week, according to NBC News. “Obviously, we don’t want people to be quarantined unnecessarily for 14 days,” Redfield said.
In addition to the 14-day quarantine period, the CDC also advises Americans to wear a mask and maintain social distance from other people to curb the spread of the virus.
Health officials estimate that the coronavirus has an incubation period of 14 days. Infected people may not show any symptoms during this period, but the virus can still spread to others.
The CDC report appeared as cases of coronavirus in the United States. According to a New York Times COVID-19 tracker, more than 12.6 million people became infected with the virus and nearly 230,000 died.
The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends a 14-day quarantine for anyone who may have come in contact with someone who has COVID-19. However, officials are reviewing the data, a WHO spokesman told the Journal.
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Across the Atlantic, European countries are reducing quarantine time for those involved in a COVID-19 case.
In September, France reduced quarantine from 14 days to seven days, while the Germans were told they had to isolate themselves for 10 days instead of 14 on 8 November – although each state decides whether they want to follow the advice.
Belgium shortened its quarantine period to seven days on 1 October, but increased it to 10 days on 19 October after the number of cases jumped.
The UK still requires 14 days of self-isolation, but the country plans to reduce the period during which incoming travelers have to be quarantined from 14 to five days if they pay for a test and show a negative result due to COVID-19 .