US Reduces Quarantine For People With Covid-19 Positive
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In the United States, people who have contracted Covid-19 are now recommended to self-isolate for five days, while fully vaccinated contact cases no longer need to self-quarantine. President Joe Biden called on Monday not to give in to “panic” despite the sharp rise in daily contamination from the Omicron variant.
The American health authorities reduced, on Monday, December 27, the recommended period of quarantine for people positive for Covid-19. The duration of isolation is reduced from ten to five days for asymptomatic people and from 14 to five for unvaccinated contact cases, the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) said.
The main US health agency also advises wearing a mask for five days after quarantine, while fully vaccinated contact cases do not need to self-isolate. The majority of infections occur in the two days before and three days after the onset of symptoms, authorities said in a statement.
The Omicron variant, much more transmissible but which seems to cause less severe symptoms, is now the majority in the United States, and the number of cases is rising sharply. According to the New York Times, 214,499 new cases were recorded on Sunday, a jump of 83% on an average of 14 days, and the country is approaching the daily record of 251,232 positive cases reached in January 2021. The daily number of deaths has also increased slightly (+ 3%) with 1,328 deaths on average in the most bereaved country in the world (more than 800,000 deaths).
Do not panic”
The sudden increase in positive cases has led airlines in recent days to cancel hundreds of flights in the middle of the holiday season.
“Omicron is a source of concern but should not be a source of panic,” Joe Biden said Monday. The massive vaccination campaign and screening will mitigate the spread of the variant identified in South Africa in November, he said.
“Because there have been so many vaccinations and third doses, we are not seeing hospitalizations increase as much” as before, said the president, when 72% of the population received at least one injection.
However, he admitted that some hospitals in the country were “overwhelmed, in terms of equipment and personnel”, by an increase in hospitalizations, mostly unvaccinated people who are still numerous. He also acknowledged the problems caused by the shortage of tests in recent days. “We still have work to do,” he admitted, citing the increased number of testing sites and the upcoming federal government distribution of 500 million kits.
In New York, where the authorities have noted an increase in the number of children hospitalized in connection with the Covid-19, the vaccination obligation for employees of companies and private businesses in the city came into force Monday morning. This is already the case for municipal employees since November 1.
Asked about public radio NPR, Anthony Fauci, the White House’s main adviser on the fight against the pandemic, hoped that the dizzying rise in positive cases would peak before falling again, as in South Africa. This “may be due to saturation, that is, the variant has reached all vulnerable targets” such as unvaccinated people, he said.
The Omicron variant appears to be less dangerous for people who have received at least two doses of the vaccine, added Anthony Fauci. “We hope that this lesser severity will prevent an increase in hospitalizations, but we are really very worried about the unvaccinated who are vulnerable,” he said.
The scientist also said he was unfavorable to a new vaccine campaign for a 4th dose, believing that boosters too close together did not allow the immune system to strengthen against the coronavirus. “Right now, get the booster dose, don’t worry about a fourth dose and maybe you never have to worry about it,” he said.
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