For the past few weeks, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has been considering releasing a recommendation to shorten the length of quarantines after COVID-19 exposure. Since the beginning of the pandemic, the CDC has recommended that anybody exposed to the novel coronavirus self-isolate for 14 days. This recommendation is based on the belief that it can take up two weeks for the virus to incubate in the human body.
While the recommendation is still being finalized, it's expected that the new quarantine period will be shortened by a full week. Back in October, CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield discussed the potential change during a press conference. Dr. Redfield explained that researchers were exploring the possibility of using "testing during the quarantine to determine if you can shorten the quarantine to seven or 10 days." Without testing, however, a percentage of infectious cases could be missed.
In addition to hopefully being able to catch infectious cases through testing, the CDC wants to make quarantine easier for the general public. "We need to optimize quarantine," Dr. Tom Frieden, former head of the CDC, added. "We know that the biggest risk is from days four to seven. After that, the risk is lower" for transmission and spread.
A spokesperson for the CDC told NBC News on Wednesday (November 25) that the agency "is always reviewing its guidance and recommendations in the light of new understandings of the virus that causes COVID-19, and will announce such changes when appropriate."