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Lack of data in CDC’s five day quarantine policy

Published: Jan. 9, 2022 at 5:58 PM CST
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - The Center for Disease Control made a controversial call to cut quarantine time in half if someone got exposed or diagnosed with COVID-19.

This all happening while the United States and Alabama are seeing record-breaking COVID-19 case numbers right now.

The CDC shortened the quarantine period for most people to five days. Infectious disease doctor with Huntsville Hospital, Dr. Ali Hassoun says the only research he’s seen points to people only being able to transmit the virus for at least eight days. He says that’s where the previous ten-day isolation period came from.

He says he understands the change to a five-day quarantine is to not overwhelm hospitals but he believes it will do more harm than good. “Having the 5 days quarantine is concerning for me because I think when you bring people early there’s a chance they can transmit infections to others and that can be a major issue because what you see whether, in the community or workplaces, they really don’t follow the prevention guidelines.”

The new CDC policy reports that isolation can end after five days if the patient is fever-free for 24 hours or other symptoms have improved. When they leave quarantine, they have to wear a mask for five more days.

That’s an important point that concerns Dr. Hassoun. That’s because he says he doesn’t see many people following preventative methods like using masks and social distancing.

The rules are different for immunocompromised people who must quarantine from 10 to 20 days.

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