CDC Changes Isolation Guidelines in Response to Omicron Variant


Image used via the CDC under Public Domain

Coronavirus. This picture portrays a microscopic version of COVID-19. On March 4th, 2020, the CDC created an illustration of the virus severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) as they displayed the spike-like proteins found within the virus.

Carmel Yonas, Opinions Editor & Senior Reporter

On Monday, December 27th, 2021, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced updated COVID-19 guidelines. Based on research surrounding the latest Omicron variant,  CDC health experts now suggest that individuals who test positive should reduce their period of isolation from two weeks to five days.

At the beginning of the Coronavirus Pandemic, prior to the emergence of the Omicron variant and the subsequent surge in cases, the federal government conducted a nationwide lockdown in 2020, or “quarantine.” As scientists worked to create the first COVID-19 vaccine, the entire country shut down and Americans were forced to stay at home; this unprecedented virus not only shifted millions of lives, but also unbalanced the economy.

The CDC’s full changes to their guidelines are as follows: if an individual tests positive with COVID-19 and is asymptomatic, they should quarantine for five days as well as use a face mask when outside for another five days.

From the beginning of COVID-19 to the emergence of variants and vaccines, this timeline encapsulates prominent information concerning the disease and its transmission. The timeline originates from CNN and lists most major COVID-19 updates from 2020 through 2021.

CDC scientists also recommend that unvaccinated individuals exposed to the virus should adhere to mask-wearing and follow suggested protocols in order to limit the spread. Although some individuals may not want to wear face coverings, it is highly advised for the protection of others and those who are most susceptible to the evolving virus.

Nathan Heo, a senior at South Forsyth High School, shared his perspective on the guideline alterations.

“I believe [the] Omicron [variant] has both given people reason to be cautious as well as [contradicted] the misconception that ‘Covid isn’t that bad,'” said Heo. “As a country, we need to emphasize now more than ever the importance of sticking to the guidelines in order to save lives. Personally, I believe people should quarantine from 1-2 weeks rather than the mere 5 days recommended by the CDC. Although the new variant may seem less dangerous, and the vaccine is more accessible, the virus is still spreading rapidly.”

According to the CDC and other health experts, COVID-19 is a deadly disease that is still impacting the world today. In the United States, the Omicron variant affects children, adults, vaccinated, and unvaccinated individuals. However, the CDC, along with other organizations such as the World Health Organization (WHO) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH), are continuously working to keep Americans informed with relevant information regarding COVID-19.

Forsyth County Schools has also formulated a series of protocols to ensure students and staff are protected from Covid-19 while on campus.  You can read more about FCS’ “Keep Forsyth Safe” campaign here.