CDC says COVID is ‘here to stay’, relaxes guidelines to get Americans back to normal ‘everyday life’

“We know Covid-19 is here to stay,” CDC epidemiologist Greta Massetti said at Thursday’s press conference. “The high levels of population immunity due to vaccination and previous infection, and the many tools we have to protect people from serious illness and death have put us in a different position.”

The CDC has lifted measures recommending students exposed to someone positive for the virus self-quarantine. The virus is also dropping recommendations that schools limit social contact by putting them in groups during the day.

Schools should also no longer carry out Covid-19 tests for asymptomatic students or those who have not been exposed to the virus. Schools should only conduct large-scale testing during an outbreak or a high-risk event at school, such as a prom.

The directive also changes last year’s ‘test to stay’ recommendations which say tests are carried out on students as a way to avoid quarantine.

The CDC suggests that unvaccinated people no longer have to quarantine after being exposed to the virus, and has suggested that schools also resume this policy.

For those who test positive, the CDC recommends staying home for at least five days and wearing a high-quality mask if you are with other people in your home. If after 5 days you have not had a fever for 24 hours without taking medication and your symptoms are improving or you have never had symptoms, you can end the isolation after the 5th day .

They note that regardless of when you end your isolation and test negative, you should avoid being around those who are at risk of becoming very ill from Covid for at least another 11 days.

Unvaccinated and exposed students who come into contact with some Covid positives are recommended to be tested after five days of exposure and to wear a mask for 10 days to avoid potentially spreading the virus should they test positive .

“We are in a stronger place today as a nation, with more tools – like vaccinations, boosters and treatments – to protect ourselves and our communities from serious illness from COVID-19” , said Massetti. “We also have a better understanding of how to protect people from exposure to the virus, such as wearing high quality masks, testing and improved ventilation. These guidelines recognize that the pandemic is not over, but also help us reach a point where COVID-19 no longer seriously disrupts our daily lives.

An estimated 95% of the US population have antibodies from a previous infection or vaccination, Massetti said, providing protection against the disease. “So it really makes more sense not to make a difference with our advice or our recommendations based on vaccination status at this time.”

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