CDC shortens recommended Covid quarantine time to 5 days, after airlines tell it to

Originally published at: CDC shortens recommended Covid quarantine time to 5 days, after airlines tell it to | Boing Boing


I get the quarantine change. The shorter isolation of infected persons is idiotic. AFAIK, there’s no science behind it. It’s just wishful thinking made into policy.


No surprising. Our public university is pushing headlong into all in-person classes for the Spring semester. The most honest report of the “science” behind that decision that I’ve heard was “enrollment is way down, and midterms grades were terrible”


One of my daughters went to visit a friend and ended up catching omicron from the friend’s father. The family treated her like a queen as she isolated in their home over Christmas. Being responsible, she took many antigen tests over the days to keep track of whether or not she was still contagious. 9 days after initial contagion, she was still testing positive: fully vaccinated and boostered, with minimal symptoms (would barely register as a normal cold).

NINE DAYS LATER. She did finally test negative (twice) on day 10. So no, 5 days isn’t enough.


If she wasn’t asymptomatic, the shortened isolation period does not apply to her.


She was asymptomatic after about 2 days. So, more than 5 days asymptomatic. My point is that the right answer isn’t a pre-specified number of days, but rather testing to see if someone is truly non-contagious before, say, getting on an airplane.


We a similar problem over the holidays.

My cousin’s father in law had come over from the UK for Thanksgiving. He did all his due diligence. He’s vaxed and boostered. Isolated for two weeks before he left.

Tested negative before he flew out.

Tested positive when he landed.

Every member of the household ended up getting what we’re assuming is Omicron. Given the timing, how mild everything was, and the fact none of us have heard of that many breakthroughs in a cluster of people with boosters.

Turns out he had broke isolation to see his also isolating for travel, vaxed and boostered sister in law the day before he left. No clue where she picked it up.

The issue they’ve run into now is the UK requires a negative test the day of his flight back. But the doctors are telling him, and the CDC advice is, that he’s very to likely to test false positive for weeks. Especially on antigen tests.

He’s already missed a flight due to a failed test. 4 weeks from infection, and more than a full week after the actual doctors told him he was all clear. And he’s very like to fail the next one, believe he flies out tomorrow.

Apparently he’s supposed to isolate for 10 days each time this happens. So there’s good a chance he may not be able to go home till mid January if he’s unlucky.

Under the existing CDC rules for international travel, he wouldn’t have needed the test. And probably wouldn’t have caught that he was sick till symptoms popped up, and he’d been out and about spreading it for a few days.

That said the stricter UK rules didn’t prevent him from turning up infected.

But as goes your daughter. Apparently you can not pin point when some one is no longer infectious that way. There could be weeks of positive tests well after she’s cleared the infection.


At least as I understand it, that doesn’t make a difference. Because she had symptoms, she did not have an asymptomatic infection, even though those symptoms went away, and therefore she did not qualify for the reduction in isolation time.

To be clear, the CDC may in fact have the science wrong on this, but–unless I’m mistaken about what the CDC is treating as an asymptomatic infection–your anecdote isn’t actually a counterexample.


so the airlines are losing money - lets make the quarentine shorter.

(note- I am vaxxed. I wear my mask. I’m old and curmudgeonly)

the bullshit from the government(s) is a HUGE part of the issue here.
the story changes daily, and the 'common human" is tired, and is starting to lose faith.

My best hope is we remember all this, and hang the motherfuckers pulling the strings - when it all washes out in a few years.


Not all of that is because of corporate demands. Some of that is because it’s a rather fluid situation with new developments. Expecting the government to be able to control things like the rate of mutation of a virulent disease is a bit too far.

Not like someone created this thing and is in a lab changing things just to fuck us over. There are people who need to be held to account, for sure (the Trump administration made politic decisions not to roll out a nation wide response, specifically because they saw it was hitting blue areas first), but if you think that we need to hang people for updating our scientific understanding AS IT EVOLVES… then we might as well just not listen to anything scientists say and we might has well just forget having any sort of meaningful democracy based on mass education.

Or we could learn from our mistakes and IMPROVE how the government responds to events like this in the future… You know… like people living in a democracy.


One particular challenge is that the story necessarily changes daily because Science Marches On. This is, of course, true with scientific endeavors generally, but the lay public rarely if ever sees the creation of knowledge play out in real time like this. The importance of clear, complete (after a fashion), coherent scientific communication becomes critical.

Of course, when an environment has been engineered such that scientific communication is looked on with cynicism, the face of public science is given over to shills for several years, and regulatory capture runs rampant, it ends up calling every public health decision into question.



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The science about covid has changed at an amazing rate - proof of how much brain power has been focused on this pandemic. The rate of changes in our practice has been at times overwhelming. The survival rate has improved, and our resource management has also greatly improved. The vaccines will stand as a monument to the greatness of humanity. New medications are in our hands already, and we know much about what old medications work and do not work.

But there was no new knowledge published to justify this change in policy. This reminds me of the clear bullshit told to nursing about masks back in the beginning - ‘everyone wear n95s at work.’ then, when it became clear that we didn’t have any (because of the profit motivated choices hospital administrators had made), suddenly “you only need paper masks. you’ll be fine!”


Unfortunately obligs:



Say that again?

If you can get more information how this should be possible, please share it.

If they can expand on how an antigene to a part of virus capsid protein should be able to be present in high enough concentration to be repeatedly detected in his uppermost respiratory system by lateral flow devices while he is not infectious, i.e. the virus is not replicated, that would be really helpful.

Otherwise, I must call bullshit so loud that it hurts my vocal cords.

PCR, different story. However, detection and testing positive with a low CT are different things. The virus may persist and is possible to be detected without a person being infectious, e.g. in the intestine.

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I literally just got this from my daughter, who did a PCR test at the hospital today, 10 days after her first positive home rapid test:


That’s a very roundabout way of saying, “We don’t have enough tests to go around, so we’ll take our chances that you are no longer infectious.”

Yeah I’m not the person to ask with all your fancy science words.

That is simply the CDC recommendation as @chgoliz pointed out. And what they were told repeatedly.

It’s possible they were given bad info about antigen tests. But I don’t think the antigen tests are kosher for him flying back to the UK.

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