In an August 11, 2022 press release, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) significantly eased COVID-19 guidelines.
While the CDC does point out how widespread the global pandemic remains, they’re confident that the virus severity is lower. Between vaccinations, boosters, and new treatment options, the rate of COVID-19 cases is in a downward trend.
At the time of writing, the average number of reported new COVID-19 cases was 98,940 daily.
These new guidelines are eased and simplified so they’re easy to follow without being as disruptive to day-to-day life. This is not, however, a proclamation that COVID-19 should no longer be cause for concern.
In this article, we’ll cover the new CDC guidelines, review recent COVID-19 trends, and summarize how these changes affect you.
WHAT ARE THE NEW CDC GUIDELINES?
The CDC designed the new COVID-19 guidelines in hopes of providing the strongest public health protection with the least day-to-day disruption. Keep in mind that you may bolster your own virus protection plan to exceed the baseline guidelines.
Be sure to check for local updates on the CDC Covid-19 Community Levels webpage before determining if you’re in a good environment for reduced concern. While preventative measures and treatments have evolved to increase our chances of mild illness, the virus can still be deadly.
Let’s categorize the updated COVID-19 guideline updates into two sections: prevention and isolation.
COVID-19 PREVENTION GUIDELINES
Progress with vaccination is a driving factor for eased guidelines, but it’s unfortunately not 100% effective against the rapidly-evolving virus. Even in cases where a vaccinated individual catches the virus, however, the symptoms are generally less severe with shorter durations.
As stated by the CDC, “COVID-19 vaccines are highly protective against severe illness and death and provide a lesser degree of protection against asymptomatic and mild infection.”
The CDC recommends that you stay up-to-date with vaccination and boosters to mitigate the chance and severity of infection.
The CDC also urges people to consider non-pharmaceutical and multicomponent prevention measures. This includes ventilation, high-quality masks, testing, physical distance, and watching the CDC Covid-19 Community Levels webpage to determine risk factors.
While testing still plays a role in protecting yourself and your community from COVID-19, the CDC has reduced screening suggestions. They no longer suggest screening tests for asymptomatic people without known exposure in most settings.
Screening tests may still occur in high-risk settings such as retirement homes, homeless shelters, correctional facilities, long-term care facilities, etc.
Because the vaccine is not 100% effective and breakthrough cases occur, the CDC will no longer suggest stricter guidelines for unvaccinated individuals. As such, people who haven’t taken the vaccine will need to identify their risk factors and comfort level.
COVID-19 ISOLATION GUIDELINES
The CDC has ended the quarantine guideline for individuals exposed to COVID-19. Instead, individuals are encouraged to wear a tight-fitting, high-quality mask for 10 days and take a test after at least 5 days. Even if this test is negative, you must finish the 10-day masking duration.
If a test is positive or you experience COVID-19 symptoms, you should isolate yourself at home for at least 5 days, the most infectious timeframe, regardless of vaccination. If you have no symptoms or your mild symptoms have improved unmedicated after day 5, you can end isolation. After isolation ends, wear a tight-fitting, high-quality mask for at least 5 days.
For these 5 days after isolation ends, avoid visiting family, friends, and facilities with a high-risk factor.
If your symptoms worsen, the 10-day isolation timer should restart. If you experience respiratory issues related to COVID-19 or have a weak immune system, you must isolate yourself for the full 10-day duration at home.
The CDC recommends that individuals who experienced moderate to severe symptoms talk to their doctor before ending isolation.
WHAT THIS MEANS FOR YOU
As restrictions ease and life continues its path toward normalcy, it’s important to remain vigilant and mindful. At an average of 398 deaths per day, COVID-19 is still a leading cause of death in the United States.
As the number of new cases and the rate of severe cases continues its downward trend, it’s important to not engage in dangerous activity that could reverse progress. Prioritizing not only your health, but the health of those around you, is essential moving forward.
It’s important to be mindful of the people around you, as individuals with weaker immune systems are more susceptible to severe illness. This is doubly so as school approaches and children interact unmasked.
If you are unvaccinated or immunocompromised, execute appropriate caution based on your community levels.
It’s more important now than ever to monitor your health and understand your risk factor for COVID-19. If you don’t already have a copy of your medical history to review, we recommend you start developing a Personal Health Record today.
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