CDC updates Covid 5-day isolation guidelines as deaths and hospitalizations fall

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People who test positive for Covid no longer need to isolate for five days, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Friday.

The CDC’s new guidance now matches public health advice for flu and other respiratory illnesses: Stay home when you’re sick, but return to school or work once you’re feeling better and you’ve been without a fever for 24 hours.

The shift reflects sustained decreases in the most severe outcomes of Covid since the beginning of the pandemic, as well as a recognition that many people aren’t testing themselves for Covid anyway.

“Folks often don’t know what virus they have when they first get sick, so this will help them know what to do, regardless,” CDC director Dr. Mandy Cohen said during a media briefing Friday.