Federal health officials may shorten the recommended quarantine period for individuals who have been exposed to the coronavirus in an effort to make the guidance more palatable and to improve compliance, a federal official confirmed on Tuesday.
The official was not authorized to speak about the discussions and asked to remain anonymous. The possible change was first reported by The Wall Street Journal.
A spokeswoman for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention declined to comment on the change, saying only that the agency “is always reviewing its guidance and recommendations in the light of new understandings of the virus that causes COVID-19,” and that the change will be announced “when appropriate.”
The C.D.C. currently advises people who may have been exposed to the virus to seclude themselves for 14 days in order to avoid spreading the disease, even before they know whether they are infected or develop symptoms.
The proposed change would scale back the required quarantine period to between one week and 10 days, followed by a test for the virus.
If adopted, the more relaxed guidance could lead to some infections being missed. Studies have found that the median incubation period for the virus is five days. A significant majority of people — 97.5 percent of those exposed to the virus — develop symptoms by the 12th day after infection.
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