CDC lowers isolation time guidance for COVID kids

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CDC lowers isolation time guidance for COVID kids

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shortened its recommended isolation time for COVID-infected kids from 10 days to five — but it remains unclear if the state or city plan to implement the change.

Regardless of vaccination status, kids who test positive for COVID-19 or show symptoms must isolate, the CDC said late Thursday.

But children, and all others, can now exit isolation after five days if their condition improves or if they are without a fever, the CDC counseled.

The agency has since taken heat for not recommending a negative test before emerging from isolation.

CDC Director Rochelle Walensky addressed that objection on NBC’s “Today” show Friday morning.

“We are now standing on the shoulders of years of science that has demonstrated that if you are infected, you are most contagious in the one to two days prior to your symptoms and the two to three days after your symptoms,” Walensky told Savannah Guthrie. “So we know that the vast majority of your contagiousness by day five is really behind you.”

Two masked children.
The CDC now says kids can emerge from isolation after five days if they have no fever.
Shutterstock / Cavan Images – Of

The CDC issued the same guidance for adults last week before formally broadening the policy to include kids.

With coronavirus cases soaring in the nation’s largest school system, some parents have clamored for the Department of Education to shorten the student isolation period from 10 to five days in light of the new guidance.

Gov. Kathy Hochul announced previously that essential workers, including city teachers, can end isolation after five days.

But it was unclear Friday if state or city officials planned to formally change their policies on child isolation given the CDC’s shift.

A girl in a room at a desk alone.
Prior regulations stated that children needed to isolate for 10 days.
Shutterstock / Leestudio

Some parents have argued that kids should not be subjected to harsher COVID-19 policies than adults, especially since they are generally at a lower risk of severe sickness.

The CDC said Friday that infected kids should continue to wear masks around others for an additional five days after their isolation.

A staggering 10,932 city public school students tested positive for COVID-19 on Thursday alone, according to the agency’s website.

Unless the state isolation policy changes, those kids will be ineligible to come to school for 10 days.

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