The CDC’s isolation guidance is not based on data

Remember how, in December, the CDC changed its recommendations for people who’d tested positive for COVID-19 to isolating for only five days instead of ten? And a bunch of experts were like, “Wait a second, I’m not sure if that’s sound science?” Well, studies since this guidance was changed have shown that, actually, a lot of people with COVID-19 are still contagious after five days. Yet the CDC has not revised its guidance at all.

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Why the CDC changed its masking guidance, and which metrics to follow right now

This past Friday, the CDC announced a major shift to its guidance for determining COVID-19 safety measures based on county-level community metrics. The new guidance is intended to replace COVID-19 thresholds that the agency developed last summer, during the Delta wave; here, the CDC is promoting a shift from using cases and test positivity for local decision-making to using metrics tied directly to the healthcare system.

Read More early rollout raises equity concerns; where’s the data?

This week, the U.S. government unveiled a new website where Americans can get free at-home COVID-19 tests. Within hours of this site going live, public health experts were already raising equity concerns about the free test distribution program. To address these concerns, the federal government should release data on where the free tests go—including breakdowns by state, county, ZIP code, race and ethnicity, the tests’ delivery dates, and more.

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FAQ: Testing and isolation in the time of Omicron

As Omicron spreads rapidly through the U.S., this variant is driving record case numbers—and record demand for testing, including both PCR and rapid at-home tests. In other words, it feels harder than ever to get tested for COVID-19, largely because more people currently need a test due to recent exposure to the virus than at any other time during the pandemic.

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