Is the Easing of COVID-19 Guidance A Piece of New Good News?

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to ravage the US, there is a sense of concern, especially among those who felt lucky not to get it. It is because most new infections happen among those who didn’t have it earlier. Although it needs more analysis, the cases in New York reflect that the rate of first infections is five times higher than reinfections. Some believe these people don't have the immunity developed from the disease. And this makes them more vulnerable. Rick Bright from the Pandemic Prevention Institute says that avoiding infections is getting more difficult because of the highly transmissible nature of the subvariants.

Still, the situation is much better than the previous years when health officials braced for tough times. The virus killed millions of Americans and infected millions of others, with no end in sight. Hospitals couldn’t bear the load of patients, and many needed to ration care due to a lack of resources. The arrival of the winter months caused more panic because of the risk of the virus spreading, given that people spend more time indoors during this season. Hence, health officials urged people to take precautions such as wearing masks and maintaining social distancing. As the situation improved with vaccines and advancements in treatments, people's perception of the COVID-19 rules and regulations also changed. Where social gatherings or crowded spaces followed the mandates of masking earlier, 60% of people now feel that public venues and workplaces should ease those restrictions, as per MyBioSource’s survey.

Whether you supported or opposed the government's masking and other directives, the good news is CDC also feels it's time to relax COVID-19 guidance.

Easing of COVID-19 guidance

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention informs that the risk of severity of the coronavirus disease is much lower than before. The fatality and hospital admissions rate has also improved compared to the initial days of the pandemic. Hence, the agency has decided one doesn’t need to get tested in schools if they don’t experience any symptoms. Earlier, they introduced this policy to detect infections and curb the outbreak. However, some high-risk places still have to follow the screening mandates. These include homeless units, nursing homes, and jails. Another exciting announcement is that even the unvaccinated population may not have to isolate themselves if they come in contact with an infected person. However, they would need to mask up for ten days and get screened on the fifth day.

This announcement indicates that the pandemic has not gone yet, but it's a state where coronavirus cannot disturb people's everyday lives. CDC epidemiologist Greta Massetti said that infections and vaccination increased immunity levels, due to which the threat from the virus is much less for the public. The health experts, however, urge everyone to have their vaccines on time.

Nevertheless, there is a warning that the fall and winter seasons can see a new wave of infection as the immunity from vaccines reduces, and people stay mostly indoors. Then, the country has borne the brunt of constantly mutating omicron variants that are more contagious than their predecessors, increasing infections. Currently, the US is dealing with omicron BA.5, which caused massive spikes in the cases in the spring and early summer seasons.

What can a COVID-19-positive person do?

No matter your vaccination status, you need to isolate yourself for five days once you get a positive report. Isolation could end on the sixth day if you didn't have any symptoms or fever for one whole day. There should be an improvement in other symptoms also. Once out of the isolation, you must cover your mouth and nose with a proper mask until the tenth day. You will no longer have to follow this if your rapid antigen test results are negative two times. Still, maintaining distance from high-risk individuals, including seniors and people with immunity issues, is advisable for up to the 11th day.

People who had to get admitted to the hospital due to the infection or have weak immunity need to follow a ten-day isolation program. People with breathing troubles caused by the virus must also abide by this. They also need to talk to their primary care provider before leaving isolation. CDC informs that anyone who experiences worsening symptoms after ending their quarantine should repeat the entire process from the beginning.

According to the CDC data, the country is facing over 107,000 infections daily on average. Some believe the cases can be higher, but they are not getting registered due to at-home testing. On average, the hospital admission count for a day is 6000, and 400 deaths still occur from the virus. If you look at the vaccination status, the fully vaccinated percentage is about 67%. However, the booster adoption rate is only 48%. In the younger age group, only 30% of kids ages 5-11 have completed their vaccination course. 

The popular opinion is those who have taken their vaccines and followed proper treatment methods didn’t face hospitalization or death.

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William Rivers is an editor with a master’s degree in Human Services Counseling at Maine State University. He has more than 20 years of experience working in the senior healthcare industry.
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