Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Call mounts to cut Covid-19 quarantine period to fully vaccinate those who test negative

More health experts, businessmen and government officials are questioning how long people infected with COVID-19 should be quarantined if they are vaccinated and no longer test positive.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that people with COVID-19 be isolated for 10 days from the first day they develop symptoms or test positive, to prevent the virus from spreading. On Thursday, the agency issued new guidelines for healthcare workers, reducing their recommended isolation times.

The move comes as some researchers and business leaders have begun to call for a shorter timetable for all fully vaccinated people who have relapsed their infections, saying it is a matter of research. Supported by a growing body and a growing number of vaccinations and rapid tests.

The UK changed its quarantine rules on Wednesday, reducing the quarantine time to seven days for people who test negative twice, so they can return to work faster, reducing the burden on public services and businesses, the government said. May be

The debate suggests pandemic-response measures may shift, as new tools to fight the virus take hold and as restrictions mount fatigue.

Dr. Saad Omar, director of the Yale Institute for Global Health, said a vaccinated person with no symptoms or mild symptoms could end an isolation period of four or five days if two rapid tests indicate they do not have the virus. . “I would recommend going in that direction, and I would urge the CDC to reconsider and make this recommendation,” he said.

Unvaccinated people should follow the period of isolation and quarantine recommended by the CDC, Dr. Omar said, as should people showing symptomatic infections should be vaccinated.

For hospitals and businesses with essential workers, shorter quarantines can help limit staff shortages that disrupt operations, especially as the Omicron version races across the US

“Healthcare workers, first responders, airline professionals and many other essential workers in the economy who have been fully vaccinated are now in full 10-day isolation,” JetBlue Chief Executive Robin Hayes said in a letter to the CDC on Wednesday. may not be required.”

Delta chief executive Ed Bastian, along with the airline’s chief medical officer and a medical adviser, sent a letter Tuesday asking the CDC to consider five days of isolation and a testing protocol.

“With the rapid spread of the Omicron variant, a 10-day isolation for fully vaccinated people could significantly impact our workforce and operations,” he wrote.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, in white, said the administration was discussing adjusting the CDC’s recommended quarantine period in certain scenarios.


Susan Walsh / The Associated Press

Under new CDC guidelines, health workers can resume work within seven days after a negative test, or potentially sooner in staffing shortages. Also, healthcare workers who have been fully vaccinated and have received a booster will not need to be quarantined after a high-risk exposure to the virus.

CDC Director Rochelle Valensky said, “As the health community prepares for the projected increase in patients due to Omicron, it is our responsibility to reflect what CDC knows about infection and risk in terms of vaccination and booster doses. Updating the recommendations.”

The CDC technically distinguishes between isolation, which is for people who have a certain infection, and quarantine, which is for people exposed to the virus.

The UK shortened the isolation period for fully vaccinated people who test positive for the virus, from 10 to seven days, provided they use rapid antigen testing on the sixth and seventh day of their stretch in isolation test negative by doing. The tests should be done 24 hours apart.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid said on Wednesday, “We want to minimize the disruption from Kovid-19 in people’s everyday lives.”

Under new UK rules, people showing symptoms, especially fever, after seven days must remain in isolation even if their tests are negative. It advised people to leave isolation after seven days to work from home, wear masks indoors with others and avoid contact with vulnerable people for a few days.

Non-vaccinated people who are close contacts of a COVID-19 case still need to isolate for 10 days.

The changes were based on an analysis by the UK Health Protection Agency, which found a seven-day isolation regime and two negative test results have about the same effect on reducing the spread of the virus as 10 days.

Current CDC guidelines recommend that people infected with the virus be isolated for 10 days from the day they develop symptoms or a positive test result, while anyone who has been in close contact with an infected person And not fully vaccinated, he must quarantine for seven to 14 days. On whether he was tested and whether the result was negative.

The CDC recommends fully vaccinated people to quarantine only if they have symptoms, but get tested five to seven days after exposure and wear a mask for 14 days until their test result is negative. Ho.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Omicron variant accounted for more than 70% of new coronavirus cases reported in the US in the week ending December 18. The boom comes as the holidays approach and some people rethink travel plans. Photo: Gina Moon/Bloomberg

According to scientists, the new coronavirus multiplies in the nose and throat of a person with COVID-19, and survives in droplets and particles when that person breathes in. If another person breathes in those particles for a long time, or if a large number of particles get in the eyes or in the nose or mouth, they can pick up the virus.

Vaccines activate the body’s immune defenses and reduce viral replication. In addition to reducing the chance of serious illness, vaccines reduce the chance that a person will transmit the virus, said Paul Bieniaz, a virologist at Rockefeller University.

Some of the best recent evidence on how long a person can transmit the virus comes from an eight-month study of breakthrough infections among volunteers from the National Basketball Association.

In the study, published earlier this month in the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers said the uninfected were contagious for up to eight days, two days longer than the vaccinated, which cleared the infection in less than a week.

Studies before the introduction of Omicron found no significant difference in the duration of infection caused by the different types.

Another reason to reconsider the 10-day quarantine period, health experts said, is the increasing availability of rapid tests, making it easier for people to get themselves tested before safely returning to work.

“Society that is willing to do business, and the availability of tools like rapid testing, has changed,” said Dr. Jay Verma, director of the Weill Cornell Medicine Center for Pandemic Prevention and Response.

contributed to this article.

Write Nidhi Subbaraman at nidhi.Subbaraman@wsj.com and Jason Douglas at jason.douglas@wsj.com

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