Testing positive for Covid-19 will not mean prolonged isolation in the US.

Testing positive for Covid-19 will not mean prolonged isolation in the US.

According to new US guidelines released on Friday, testing positive for Covid-19 will no longer mean prolonged isolation for most people.

People with Covid whose symptoms are improving and who have gone 24 hours without fever and without medication can return to work, school or other public places, according to US health authorities. Updated Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Recommendations Acknowledge Declining Infection Severityas well as the effectiveness of treatments and vaccines.

After devastating the world and leaving more than 1.1 million Americans dead in its wake, Covid has been significantly controlled by vaccines, drugs like Pfizer Inc.'s Paxlovid, and widespread immunity resulting from infections. The new US guidelines go beyond the coronavirus and extend to family infections such as the flu and RSV, which can be deadly for the most vulnerable, but are not considered national emergencies.

“We are in a new place,” CDC Director Mandy Cohen said in an interview with Bloomberg Television. Although Covid cases remained high this winter, there were fewer hospitalizations and deaths. “With that trend continuing for another season, we felt we could move forward.”

Respiratory viruses continue to be a threat, especially for people over 65 years of age and those with weakened immune systems. The elderly and people with chronic illnesses who are vulnerable to Covid have opposed changes to guidelines that would expose them to greater risk of contact with infected people.

According to the CDC, there were 76,000 deaths last year from Covid in USA The flu causes up to 51,000 deaths annually in the US.

Cohen said he hopes the revised guidance will be easier for Americans to observe. “And if more people follow these guidelines, the spread of the virus will be less”he said, noting that high-risk people were “priority” when developing the recommendations.

According to the CDC, people infected with Covid, flu or RSV should stay home if possible and seek treatment. Some remain contagious even after their symptoms subside or their fever resolves without medications such as Tylenol. Those returning to work or school must wear masks, keep their distance from others, wash their hands and take other measures for five days.

The CDC has Additional recommendations for people who are pregnant, immunocompromised, disabled or over 65 years of age.

Currently, 98% of the US population has some form of immunity to the Covid virus, whether from vaccination, infection, or bothBrendan Jackson of the CDC's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases told reporters on Friday. Still, that immunity can wane, so it's important to stay up to date on vaccines, he said.

“We saw very few people get the updated Covid vaccine last season,” said Cohen, who took over as CDC director last summer. “Prepare now to receive the updated Covid-19 vaccine and flu vaccine this fall.”

States that have already shortened recommended isolation times have not seen significant changes in Covid hospitalizations or deaths. Last year, Oregon began allowing the end of isolation to those who saw their Covid symptoms improve and were fever-free and without medication for 24 hours. California followed in January, adding that asymptomatic but positive people do not need to isolate but must wear a mask for 10 days.