Yesterday, people were freaking out about the CDC’s newly revised quarantine guidelines for Covid-positive people. The previous guidelines were basically “quarantine for ten days as soon as you test positive.” The CDC just shortened the quarantines:
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Monday shortened the recommended times that people should isolate when they’ve tested positive for Covid-19 from 10 days to five days if they don’t have symptoms — and if they wear a mask around others for at least five more days. The CDC also shortened the recommended time for people to quarantine if they are exposed to the virus to a similar five days if they are vaccinated. People who are fully vaccinated and boosted may not need to quarantine at all, the CDC said.
“Given what we currently know about COVID-19 and the Omicron variant, CDC is shortening the recommended time for isolation from 10 days for people with COVID-19 to five days, if asymptomatic, followed by five days of wearing a mask when around others,” the CDC said in a statement. People whose symptoms are getting better may also leave their homes after five days so long as their symptoms are improving, the CDC said. People who have a fever should stay home until the fever clears up, the CDC added.
“The change is motivated by science demonstrating that the majority of SARS-CoV-2 transmission occurs early in the course of illness, generally in the 1-2 days prior to onset of symptoms and the 2-3 days after. Therefore, people who test positive should isolate for five days and, if asymptomatic at that time, they may leave isolation if they can continue to mask for five days to minimize the risk of infecting others.”
Basically, they’re saying that Covid-positive people are only infectious and “shedding” the virus in the first three days or so, and after that, you’re probably not infecting people even if you’re still Covid-positive. I don’t know, Omicron’s transmissibility has really thrown people for a loop, and I think scientists and doctors have been shocked by how many fully vaccinated and boostered people have gotten symptomatic Covid/omicron. If America had, like, an 85% vaccination rate, I would agree that perhaps quarantine rules could be loosened. But only 61% of Americans are fully vaccinated! This sounds awful. Meanwhile, there’s no longer a consensus on cloth masks??
With the omicron variant of COVID-19 continuing to spread at an alarming rate, some medical experts are urging everyone to reassess what masks they’re choosing to wear.
“Cloth masks are little more than facial decorations. There’s no place for them in light of omicron,” CNN Medical Analyst Dr. Leana Wen, an emergency physician and visiting professor of health policy and management at the George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health, said last week. “We need to be wearing at least a three-ply surgical mask,” she also said, referring to the standard disposable face covering available at most pharmacies and general goods stores. “You can wear a cloth mask on top of that, but do not just wear a cloth mask alone.”
The call to nix cloth masks conflicts with the mask-wearing recommendations from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which encourage masks that “have two or more layers of washable, breathable fabric” for the general public. Those recommendations were last updated on Oct. 25, about a month before the first cases of omicron were detected in South Africa.
Wen added that ideally, “you should be wearing a KN95 or N95 mask,” which also is in conflict with the CDC — who still says that masks “specially labeled ‘surgical’ N95 respirators … should be prioritized for healthcare personnel.”
That People story freaked me out more than the CDC story! I’ve been wearing cloth masks since March 2020 and I haven’t gotten any variant of Covid, or should I say, I haven’t been symptomatic if I ever had Covid. Help, I don’t want to buy three-ply surgical masks! WTF. Can I just wear two cloth masks on top of each other? Does that sound stupid?
Photos courtesy of Instar.