CDC is cutting length of quarantines for Americans who have been exposed to Covid-19 - it could be 7 days
- The recommended 14-day quarantine period for Americans exposed to COVID-19 will soon be shortened by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
- Officials are finalizing plans for a quarantine period that could be short as seven to 10 days, Dr. Henry Walke, the CDC's incident manager for Covid-19 response, told the Wall Street Journal Tuesday.
- Walke said people would need to take a Covid-19 test before they came out of quarantine.
- People were more likely to stick to the rules if quarantine was shorter, he said. "Hopefully, people would be better able to adhere to quarantine if it was, for example, seven to 10 days."
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The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is planning to shorten the recommended time Americans should quarantine for after exposure to Covid-19.
Currently, the CDC recommends that people quarantine for 14 days after coming into contact with someone that has the coronavirus.
But CDC officials are now finalizing plans for a new quarantine period that could be as short as seven days, Dr. Henry Walke, the agency's incident manager for Covid-19 response, told the Wall Street Journal Tuesday.
"Hopefully, people would be better able to adhere to quarantine if it was, for example, seven to 10 days," he said.
People would also need to take a Covid-19 test to ensure they don't have the virus before they came out of quarantine, he added.
Walke said agency officials are discussing exactly how long quarantine should last, and the type of test a person would be given to come out of self-quarantine.
"We do think that the work that we've done, and some of the studies we have and the modeling data that we have, shows that we can with testing shorten quarantines," he said.
If someone tests negative for Covid-19 "then their probability of going on and developing an infection after that is pretty low," he added.
The CDC didn't immediately respond to a request from Business Insider comment.
In October, CDC director Dr. Robert Redfield said in a briefing that the agency was looking at cutting the length of quarantine by up to a week, per NBC News. "Obviously we don't want people to be quarantined 14 days unnecessarily," Redfield said.
Along with a 14-day quarantine period, the CDC also currently advises Americans to wear a mask and social distance from other people to suppress the spread of the virus.
Health officials estimate that the coronavirus has a 14-day incubation period. People who are infected might not show any symptoms during this time but could still spread the virus to others.
The CDC's announcement came as coronavirus cases in the US surge. More than 12.6 million people have been infected with the virus, and nearly 230,00 have died, according to the New York Times Covid-19 tracker.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) advises a 14-day quarantine for anyone who may have come into contact with someone that has Covid-19. However, officials are reviewing the data, a WHO spokeswoman told the Journal.
Across the Atlantic, European countries are cutting down the quarantine time for those who've been in contact with a Covid-19 case.
In September, France reduced quarantine from 14 to seven days, while Germans were told they must self-isolate for 10 days instead of 14 on November 8 — although individual states decide if they want to follow the advice.
Belgium shortened its quarantine period to seven days on October 1, but then increased it to 10 days on October 19 after a surge in cases.
The UK still mandates a 14-day self-isolation, but the country plans to cut the period incoming travelers must quarantine for from 14 to five days, if they pay for a test and test negative for Covid-19.
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