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No More 14 Day Quarantine? CDC Finds Evidence COVID-19 Patients Not Infectious As Long

As doctors and scientists continue to get a better grasp on novel coronavirus, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released new findings when it comes to dealing with COVID-19.

Citing multiple studies by the agency and beyond, the CDC found those who have mild cases of COVID-19 may not have to be in quarantine for 14 days, that duration potentially being shortened to 10.

Scientists found 10 days after onset symptoms, patients they studied did not have “replication-competent virus” — or in simpler terms, virus which could infect cells and replicate.

For patients with severe cases of COVID-19, scientists found 88% were not contagious after 10 days and 95% were not after 15 days.

Another study involving contact tracing found those in a high-risk household and hospitals who were exposed to a positive patient did not develop symptoms if they came into contact 6 days or more after the patient first reported symptoms.

These findings go on to support the calls for those who feel ill to stay home but also could cut down on the initial 14 day quarantine, depending on severity of illness.

The CDC also cites evidence showing reinfection in the first three months is not likely, though infected individuals could continue to shed genetic material of the virus (RNA) and lead to false positive tests.

However, if a person shows symptoms after this period, it is possible they could be reinfected. So far, there is limited evidence showing reinfection of novel coronavirus.

Based on the studies, the CDC says there is justification to rely on a symptom-based strategy rather than a test-based strategy for ending isolation in positive patients so they are “not kept unnecessarily isolated and excluded from work or other responsibilities.”


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