CDC ends COVID-19 social distancing recommendation

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CDC ends COVID-19 social distancing recommendation

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday the agency was dropping some of its restrictive COVID-19 preventative measures — including social distancing.

Two and a half years since the pandemic began, the CDC said Americans no longer need to stay at least 6 feet away from each other, since an estimated 95% of people over the age of 16 have some level of immunity to the virus — either from vaccinations, infections or both.

The new guidance additionally also does not advise quarantining those who’ve been exposed to Covid-19 but are not infected, regardless of vaccination status.” 

Instead, the agency recommends those who’ve been exposed wear a mask for 10 days and get tested after five.

Social distancing floor sign "Please keep at leat 6 ft. apart"
Americans no longer have to stay six feet away from each other, per updated CDC guidelines.
MediaNews Group via Getty Images

The new changes also impact schools when students return this month, as the CDC ended its recommendation that schools test students daily — however the measure can be reinstated amid a surge of infections, officials said.

It also ended its “test to stay” recommendation, in which students exposed to the virus could remain in school instead of quarantining at home as long as they continued to test negative. 

Masks are only recommended in areas where community transmission is deemed high, or if a person is considered at high risk of severe illness.

“The current conditions of this pandemic are very different from those of the last two years,” said the CDC’s Greta Massetti, an author of the guidelines.

Massetti told reporters that the agency is revising its recommendations to make federal guidance simpler and more easily understandable.

COVID-19 social distancing sign at voting station in LA
Up to 95% of Americans have gained some sort of immunity to the virus, CDC officials said.
Los Angeles Times via Getty Imag

“It’s really about kind of how people can understand how all of these components fit together. It starts with people understanding their own personal risk, for serious illness, and that of their loved ones,” Massetti said, CBS reported.

The CDC said those who test positive should isolate for only five days, regardless of vaccination status. Individuals can end isolation once they’re fever-free for 24 hours without the use of medication and if they are without symptoms or their symptoms are improving.

The agency’s website published simplified guidelines on what to do if exposed to the virus, as well as illustrated images and guidance to help Americans understand their risk of exposure.

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