Doctor: CDC's decision to reduce isolation time partly due to help keep economy open
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have trimmed the time people infected with COVID-19 need to isolate.
When the pandemic began, those who tested positive for the coronavirus were told to isolate for 14 days.
That has since been reduced to 10 days and more recently, to just five days for those who don't have any symptoms.
"I believe the CDC came up with this sort of recommendation because they wanted to balance the need for isolation with infectious folks who have COVID and also the need to not interfere too much with the economy is general," says Dr. Adrian Popp, an infectious disease expert at Huntington Hospital Northwell.
The new recommendations say individuals with no symptoms can isolate after five days, but must wear a mask everywhere, even at home, for at least five more days.
Popp says the latest data shows vaccinated people are most infectious one to two days prior to developing symptoms to about five days after developing symptoms.
However, he says that it may be different for unvaccinated individuals, so mask wearing for the entire 10 days is important.
"For unvaccinated folks unfortunately, they can be infectious beyond the five days, so the CDC came up with this," Popp says.
The doctor says anyone concerned about infecting others can take a test to see if they are positive.