Report: Potential New CDC COVID-19 Isolation Guidance

February 14, 2024

Public health has to be realistic. In making recommendations to the public today, we have to try to get the most out of what people are willing to do.

Epidemiologist Dr. Michael Osterholm regarding potential new CDC recommendations on COVID-19 isolation times.

What To Know: Current COVID-19 guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention require people to stay home from work or school for five days after testing positive. But according to anonymous agency officials, the CDC plans to release new guidance suggesting people “use clinical symptoms to determine when to end isolation,” and may leave home after 24 hours without fever or help from medication (The Washington Post). This would not apply to health-care settings and hospitals caring for vulnerable populations, according to the agency officials who spoke to The Washington Post.

Reportedly, the CDC is expected to release this new guidance in April for feedback from the public, but the White House has not yet signed off on it.

Why It Matters: The potential new guidance would mark the first loosening of rules since 2021 and would align COVID-19 guidance with that of the flu and RSV. Since COVID-19 began in 2020, it has led to the death of more than 1.1 million people in the U.S. and has given others long-term complications known as “Long COVID.”

California and Oregon have already implemented similar changes in COVID-19 isolation rules. 

Read More:

CDC plans to drop five-day covid isolation guidelines (The Washington Post)

The CDC may be reconsidering its COVID isolation guidance (NPR)

CDC COVID Data Tracker

by Sarah Pinkerton, based in Paris