CDC Ends Some COVID Safety Rules, Emphasizes Personal Risk

Damian McNamara, MA

August 11, 2022

Editor's note: Find the latest COVID-19 news and guidance in Medscape's Coronavirus Resource Center.

The CDC today announced that because the risk of "medically significant" COVID-19 has decreased, some overall public health measures the agency initially recommended may no longer be necessary.

For example, CDC recommendations on social distancing, quarantining and testing children for COVID-19 while allowing them to stay in school — known as the test-to-stay strategy — may no longer be necessary for most Americans. The agency said high levels of immunity from vaccinations and prior infections, along with the availability of effective treatments and tools that prevent spread of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, prompted the action.

However, the agency also said people who know they are high-risk for severe COVID-19 should continue to practice a multi-layered approach to keeping themselves safe. Well-known strategies include improved ventilation, well-fitting masks and testing as warranted.

The new CDC guidance was published today in the agency's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

The new recommendations emphasize the need to:

  • Focus on ways to reduce risks for severe COVID-19;

  • Monitor community COVID levels to guide prevention efforts;

  • Intensify efforts to expand access to vaccination and therapeutics for people who are immunocompromised;

  • Continue offering reliable information so people at higher risk know their status;

  • Ensure people get tested if they are symptomatic and isolate for 5 days or longer when infected.

"COVID-19 remains an ongoing public health threat," the CDC COVID-19 Emergency Response Team members said in the new recommendations.

"However, high levels of vaccine- and infection-induced immunity and the availability of medical and nonpharmaceutical interventions have substantially reduced the risk for medically significant illness, hospitalization, and death from COVID-19."

Source: CDC "Summary of Guidance for Minimizing the Impact of COVID-19 on Individual Persons, Communities, and Health Care Systems — United States, August 2022"


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