The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has relaxed its COVID-19 guidelines, essentially giving unvaccinated people the same guidance as vaccinated people.
Dr. Nicole Saphier, a radiologist at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and a Fox News contributor, tweeted that the recommendations “no longer differentiate based on a person’s vaccination status – acknowledging breakthrough infections are common, and taking natural immunity into consideration.”
Stanford epidemiologist Dr. Jay Bhattacharya said that with the new guidance, the CDC has taken “a substantive step toward ending lockdown-by-stealth, dismantling vax segregation & discrimination, and eliminating unnecessary disruptions in the lives of kids this school year.”
The CDC has dropped the recommendation that Americans quarantine themselves if they come into close contact with a person infected with COVID-19.
And people no longer need to stay at least 6 feet away from each other..
The CDC’s Greta Massetti, an author of the guidelines, told the Associated Press the changes are based on a recognition that an estimated 95% of Americans 16 and older have acquired some level of immunity, either from being vaccinated or infected.
“The current conditions of this pandemic are very different from those of the last two years,” she said.
The changes are particularly important for schools, with classes in most districts across the country beginning in a few weeks.
Students can stay in their classroom if they have been exposed to COVID-19 instead of quarantining at home.
NBC News noted the “transition away from quarantining signals an end to several years of remote schooling that stunted learning and increased mental health problems.”
Dr. Richard Besser, a pediatrician and president of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, said in an email reported by NBC that the new guidance is “essential for their social and emotional development, physical and mental health, and academic success.”
Masks continue to be recommended for high-risk people and in areas where officials determine community transmission is high.
The American Federation of Teachers, one of the nation’s largest teachers unions, said it welcomes the guidance, the Associated Press reported.
“Every educator and every parent starts every school year with great hope, and this year even more so,” President Randi Weingarten said. “After two years of uncertainty and disruption, we need as normal a year as possible so we can focus like a laser on what kids need.”