CDC relaxes some COVID-19 guidelines, including on quarantine

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have relaxed some guidelines around COVID-19.

The CDC no longer recommends social distancing and dropped guidance on quarantine for people exposed to COVID-19. Instead, those exposed should wear a mask for 10 days and test after 5.

"We have to decide at what point do we have enough immunity and at what point do we have enough tools to live with COVID," said Dr. Monica Gandhi, an infectious disease expert at UCSF.

Gandhi said the Bay Area should feel comfortable scaling back some guidelines, especially with the high vaccination rate. 

"There’s actually a lot of immunity in the Bay Area because of our high vaccination rate. On top of that frankly there’s a lot of  natural infection that has occurred as well," said Gandhi.

The CDC also no longer recommends keeping a distance of at least 6 feet from others. Dr. Peter Chin-Hong, an infectious disease expert at UCSF said these changes send a message that the country is in a much different place.

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"It’s not saying we ignore the virus, which is the last thing we want to do. It’s just saying there’s circumstances where we have to be more serious and there’s circumstances where we have to take more individual responsibility," said Chin-Hong.

The guidance also impacts schools by eliminating the "test to stay" protocol. "Test-to-stay" has been used to allow kids who are not fully vaccinated, and who have had a "close contact," to stay at school as long as they continue to test negative.

The CDC is continuing to recommend vaccinated. And people should continue to isolate from others if you test positive for COVID-19.