The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention wants to make it easier for Americans to stay away from COVID-19.
The pandemic has been with us for 2½ years, but conditions are constantly changing – and that can complicate efforts to avoid its worst effects.
Whether you’ve diligently reduced your risk or returned to your pre-pandemic habits, the new advice is designed to help you stay safe.
“Today, the CDC is streamlining its COVID-19 guidance to help people better understand their risk, how to protect themselves and others, what actions to take when exposed to COVID-19, and what actions to take take if they are sick or have tested positive for the virus,” the agency said in a statement.
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The new guidelines were published Thursday in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. It aims to hasten the arrival of the day when COVID-19 “no longer seriously disrupts our daily lives,” said Greta Massetti, a member of the CDC COVID-19 Emergency Response Team and lead author of the report.
Here’s a look at the CDC’s advice:
to be vaccinated
The first generation of COVID-19 vaccines may not protect you from coronavirus infection, but they will greatly reduce your risk of getting seriously ill.
“The rates of COVID-19-associated hospitalizations and deaths are substantially higher among unvaccinated adults than among those up to date with the recommended COVID-19 vaccination,” the report said.
how much higher According to the CDC, unvaccinated people ages 5 and older were six times more likely to die from COVID-19 than their fully vaccinated peers in May. The older you are, the more protection the vaccination offers.
Nationwide, 67.3% of Americans are fully vaccinated. But only 48.3% of those eligible for their first booster shot received it. If you’re not one of them, the CDC urges you to change that and get up to date on your vaccinations.
Here’s a motivation: In May, unvaccinated people aged 12 and over were nine times more likely to die from COVID-19 than their vaccinated and boosted peers.
Get tested if you have COVID-19 symptoms
The sooner you realize you have an infection, the sooner you can take steps to prevent further transmission.
There’s also a selfish reason to get tested if you suspect you may have COVID-19. The antiviral drug Paxlovid works best when started right away. If you’re eligible for the pills but wait more than five days before starting to take them, they won’t reduce your risk of getting seriously ill.
The new guidance also recommends that people get tested after being exposed to someone with COVID-19. However, the CDC no longer recommends testing to check for infection in asymptomatic people in most cases. (Screening can still be valuable in high-risk settings like nursing homes and prisons, the agency says.)
Isolate when sick
If you get COVID-19, you should isolate yourself from others for at least five days, as this is the window when you are most likely to spread the virus to others.
The day you notice your first symptoms or test positive (whichever comes first) is day 0, and day 1 is the entire day following. You can exit isolation after day 5 if you do not have a fever (without taking medication) and all other symptoms have improved. The CDC says you don’t have to test negative to end your isolation (though the state of California disagrees).
If you stop isolating, you should wear a quality mask until the end of the 10th day. However, you can remove your mask earlier if you test negative in two consecutive coronavirus tests at least 48 hours apart, under new federal guidelines. If you want to try this shortcut, the first test should not be done before day 6.
(Be warned: A small study published last week in the journal JAMA Network Open found that it took an average of eight days for people with asymptomatic infections to test negative even once, while those with any COVID -Had 19 symptoms, took an average of nine days to test negative.)
Certain groups of people should isolate themselves for at least 10 full days, according to the CDC. This includes people who have been moderately ill (have had shortness of breath or other difficulty breathing) or severely ill (required treatment in a hospital). If you have been critically ill or immunocompromised, you should consult your doctor before exiting isolation.
Take Evusheld if you qualify
People with compromised immune systems may not mount a strong immune response to COVID-19 vaccines. If you belong to this category, you can strengthen your defenses with Evusheld.
The drug, given in a series of two injections, provides recipients with monoclonal antibodies. These lab-made antibodies act as a substitute for the ones your body didn’t make itself.
The drug is also recommended for people who cannot take COVID-19 vaccines as they are at risk of serious side effects such as anaphylaxis.
Quarantine is often confused with isolation. But they’re different – an isolated person knows they’re infected, while a quarantined person is at risk of becoming infected because they’ve been exposed to someone who is.
In the past, the CDC has advocated quarantines as a means of preventing transmission of coronavirus, particularly for people who are unvaccinated.
No longer. At this point in the pandemic, so many people have coronavirus antibodies from vaccinations, previous infections, or a combination of both, that a blanket quarantine recommendation under the new guidance makes no sense.
However, if you have been in contact with an infected person, you should get tested at least five days later (or sooner if you develop COVID-19 symptoms). You should also wear a mask for 10 days when you are with others.
Contact tracing is now only recommended for healthcare facilities and certain other high-risk environments where people live in confined spaces.
Everywhere else, the CDC advises public health workers to focus their efforts on making sure people who have been exposed to the virus know how to get tested.
The CDC updates values for each county across the country on Thursdays. This metric takes into account the amount of coronavirus transmission in a county as well as the impact COVID-19 is having on local hospitals.
The higher your COVID-19 community level, the more precautions you should take, the CDC says.
https://www.latimes.com/science/story/2022-08-11/heres-the-cdcs-new-advice-for-protecting-yourself-against-covid-19 CDC has new advice for protecting yourself against COVID-19