The agency says there is growing evidence that people are most infectious 2-3 days after developing symptoms.By Chris Hoffman

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — While the United States is averaging nearly 200,000 new cases of COVID-19 per day, the CDC has issued new guidance for all Americans when it comes to the amount of recommended quarantine time.

The amount of recommended quarantine time has now been cut in half by the CDC.

The agency says there is growing evidence that people are most infectious 2-3 days after developing symptoms.

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For asymptomatic patients, the recommended isolation period goes from 10 days down to five days.

“With all of that knowledge, we can now come up with better ways to live your life knowing that you can’t get the risk down to zero, but you can make the risk very manageable,” Pittsburgh-based infectious disease physician Dr. Amesh Adalja said.

Asymptomatic patients are asked to wear a mask for the five days following the isolation period.

For close contacts of positive cases of COVID-19, no quarantine is recommended for individuals who have received a booster dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

“We have to have a sustainable approach that is safe and is scientifically based and allows people to navigate a world in which COVID 19 is ever-present,” Dr. Adalja said.

For individuals who have not received a vaccine or a booster dose, a five-day quarantine is recommended for close contacts of positive cases of COVID-19, as well as a 10-day recommended of period of mask-wearing following the exposure.

The CDC says the decision made was driven by a surge in the Omicron variant.

“There are going to be spikes. It’s really hospitalizations, severe disease and death, that’s what we have to focus on. We’re trying to tame this virus. We’re not trying to eliminate it. We’re not trying to eradicate it,” Dr. Adalja said.

Doctors found the variant may cause milder illness, but the number of people infected can cause critical systems like hospitals to have problems staying open.

“I mean, obviously if you have symptoms, you should not be out, but if you are asymptomatic and you are infected, we want to get people back to the jobs, particularly those with essential jobs to keep our society running smoothly,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

The new guidance from the CDC is not a mandate, but a recommendation. Individual states may now follow suit and seek to shorten their own quarantine policies.