The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced on Thursday that its COVID-19 guidance for quarantines and social distancing would be loosened.
As CNN reported, the new guidelines no longer recommend individuals stay at least six feet apart to reduce the risk of exposure to the novel coronavirus. That guidance had been in place since the start of the pandemic, but due to widespread vaccination or previous infection it’s believed that most of the United States has at least some immunity.
“The current conditions of this pandemic are very different from those of the last two years,” said Greta Massetti, chief of the Field Epidemiology and Prevention Branch at the CDC. “High levels of population immunity due to vaccination and previous infection and the many available tools to prevent to the general population and protect people at higher risk allow us to focus on protecting people from serious illness from COVID-19.”
The new guidelines also dictate that contact tracing only needs to be enforced at hospitals or high-risk population living situations such as nursing homes. The guidance does keep some of the guidelines the same, such as testing after coming into contact with someone who later tested positive for COVID-19. When it comes to quarantining, though, people who have been exposed to the virus but are not infected do not need to quarantine anymore. Those who have tested positive should stay at home for at least five days, while those with more moderate or severe cases should isolate for ten days.