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Local Experts Explain The Science Behind CDC's Shortened COVID Isolation Guidelines

BOSTON (CBS) -- The CDC has changed its recommendation for COVID isolation and quarantine times. Now, if you test positive, they recommend you isolate for five days instead of 10 as long as you're asymptomatic. Then wear a mask for five days when you're around others.

If you're exposed to someone who has tested positive and you're either not vaccinated or haven't received a booster, the CDC has similar guidance: a five-day quarantine and then keep your mask on around others for the next five days. If you develop symptoms, quarantine until you get a negative test result back.

"It's not that we're saying after five days you can go to restaurants and large gatherings and be mask free, you want to be wearing a mask just in case there's still some virus being shed that you protect other people," said Dr. Daniel Kuritzkes, Chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases at Brigham and Women's Hospital.

Tufts Medical Center epidemiologist Dr. Shira Doron added, "I think that the key is that we are not in a period of the pandemic where we can or even need to prevent all transmission incidents."

Latest CDC Guidelines (WBZ-TV)

The CDC announced the new recommendations on Monday. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the chief medical adviser to President Biden, said the guidance takes the volume of new cases into account. Health officials expect cases to continue rising because of the Omicron variant.

"I think that was a very prudent and good choice on the part of the CDC which we spent a considerable amount of time discussing, namely getting people back in half the time they would have been out so they can get back to the workplace doing things important to keeping society running smoothly," said Fauci.

The CDC is basing this on data that indicates you're most likely to transmit the virus a day or two before you feel any symptoms and two to three days after.

According to the CDC, if you have been boosted and are a close contact of someone who has tested positive, you don't need to quarantine but should wear a mask around others for 10 days as long as you don't have any symptoms.

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