CDC To Shorten Recommended Quarantine For COVID-19 Exposure | Talking Points Memo

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is set to shorten the recommended length of quarantine after exposure to someone who is positive for COVID-19, as the virus rages across the nation.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

“The new guidance was presented Tuesday at a White House coronavirus task force meeting for final approval.”


This is a quite sensible change.


Until Biden is sworn in as president, I don’t believe anything coming out of the CDC.


“The new guidance was presented Tuesday at a White House coronavirus task force meeting for final approval.”


This is spot on with all of the science that has come out for the last few months. The vast majority of infections (nearing 100% statistically) will be caught if this is applied correctly.


Giroir, from his presser:

“People are much more likely to listen to a 10-day quarantine than to a 14-day quarantine,” Giroir said, noting that there are more tests available now that could make the 10-day quarantine recommendation possible.

“We are actively working on that type of guidance right now, reviewing the evidence, but we want to make absolutely sure,” he said, adding that “these kind of recommendations aren’t willy nilly.”

It’s like CDC did a few focus groups, and the consensus was more people might be compliant with a quarantine order if it were shorter. And, since half the people show their symptoms by day 4 or 5, no reason they should have to sit around for 14 days. So, let’s split the difference, and make it 10 days. Medical decision making by stupidity consensus.

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The Biden administration and CDC are going to have to work long and hard to recover the reputation of the CDC. Biden needs to put in a new head whose first purpose is to clean house. Anyone who was appointed by Trump has to go, and anyone who did not resist Trump’s politicization has to go or be demoted to lab mouse tray cleaner.
Yes, getting the pandemic under control is very, very important, but the CDC can’t help much with that until they can be fully trusted again.


It’s also perfectly in line with what other countries are implementing. I saw an interview over the weekend with an NBC journalist based out of London who had just returned from the U.S. He said his quarantine was 14 days at home, but that the Brits were about to make the travel quarantine five days followed by a negative test result (and no symptoms, of course). People might be infected and asymptomatic for up to 14 days after exposure, but PCR tests are still going to give reliable results after five days.


I did find how Pfizer arrived at their 95% rating for their vaccine.


In Pfizer’s case, it waited until 94 volunteers in its late-stage clinical trial of more than 43,500 people - half got the vaccine, the other half got a placebo - tested positive after developing symptoms.

For 90%-plus efficacy, no more than eight people among those who tested positive had received the vaccine, with the rest having received the placebo.

At least it’s an explanation how they arrived at their number.

This news hit a day after Pfizer’s news.

In Russia, Sputnik V-developer Gamaleya Institute reached its preliminary 92% efficacy figure based on 20 illnesses in 16,000 volunteers as its late-stage trial progresses. It aims to reach 40,000 people.
Of the 16,000 people, about quarter got the placebo.

Having only a quarter getting the placebo will throw that efficacy into question for Sputnik


While it is quite correct that people typically develop symptoms (if they’re going to have any symptoms, that is) by day 5, you’re looking at the wrong metric. The actual question is whether infected people can be reliably detected by PCR testing five days after their exposure. By all indications, the answer to that question is yes. Thus, if you’ve got no symptoms and a negative PCR test, there is no need for further quarantine because you aren’t infected and can’t spread it to other people. The previous 14 day quarantine period was simply based on how long it takes for an asymptomatic carrier to clear the infection. That’s simply not necessary if the quarantined person tests negative after five days.


The rules in North Rhine-Westphaia, the state I live in in Germany, are following: normally you would have 14 days of quarantine, but if you are administered a PCR test after 10 days of quarantine and it is negative, then you are released from quarantine. So, it’s somewhere in between.


10 days, no symptoms, and a negative PCR test is certainly a more cautious standard. But five days, no symptoms, and a negative test are fine.


I agree…however…how quickly will this be warped by donnie’s followers?

Merkel, as you are certainly aware, has been playing it conservatively, for which many/most of us are very grateful, including my husband who doesn’t particular like or agree with Merkel politically.

There has been pushback from the prime ministers of the various states on the national restrictions and they have also made some modifications at the state level. There are bottom up pressures from a number of groups pushing the same “herd immunity” and “hoax” crap just like in the US. Also, the economic measures which have been taken to support workers and, in particular, small businesses have blown up the deficit (which, btw, still looks a whole lot better than that of the US), so many folks are fretting, even though these are saving the economy here. I.e., in general, most workers and small business owners are NOT in the middle of an existential crisis, but rather are tired and frustrated, as elsewhere.

Our “lockdown lite” is now being basically extended into January, because in spite of all of the preventive measures being taken, the flattening is not happening as rapidly as hoped for. Most of that comes from exactly the same places: younger folks congregating in larger groups, weddings, funerals, etc., where the covid rules are being bent or ignored…

For me, the 10 days is okay – people tend to want to cheat, so if you say 5, they’ll start cheating after 3; if you say 10, they’ll start cheating after 5. :crazy_face:


Key word here: typically, or usually, or on average… Individuals are not best served by the “average” designation. I’m not saying that that a 14-day quarantine is the best, and I would never say that Great Britain uses a 10-day cycle, so that should be good for us, too. I’m just saying that using terms like “typical” and “usually” have done more damage in decision making in medicine (for both clinicians and for patients) than good. Hence: “guidelines.” It’s a lazy way out. And the current CDC/WH maladministration decision making is just plain meshugah, totally political, and has resulted in a whole lot more unnecessary deaths than I think is acceptable. Why is the US COVID-19 morbidity and mortality rates the worst in the world. I thought we were the “best?” (Last comment is pure snark.)

You are conflating symptoms with testing. PCR testing reliably catches any infections five days after exposure. Patients simply do not become infected after five days.

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Reports I have seen about PCR testing indicate that positives are reliable but negatives are often wrong.

One of thing things we’re presupposing here is universal availability of PCR testing with rapid return of results. So not the US, then.

Maybe in a perfect world. These are not perfect tests. Medicine is not a perfect science. People are not “average.” Our disease surveillance in this country has degraded into political number-games. Over 14 million people have gotten COVID-19 in this country, and more than 277,000 have died. Many of these cases and deaths were unnecessary, and it is surely the case that these numbers are underestimating the actual prevalence. In fact, we now have evidence (through data from blood donations) that COVID-19 was in circulation in the U.S. back in mid-December of 2019 (In California, Oregon, and Washington) and in several Midwest states shortly after that. I’m all for taking a conservative approach, as well as a well-informed scientific approach, until we have better data, and better decision-makers in our government too.


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