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New Yorkers welcome relaxed COVID-19 safety guidelines: "I feel good about it"

CDC relaxes COVID-19 safety guidelines
CDC relaxes COVID-19 safety guidelines 02:35

NEW YORK -- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Thursday it's easing its COVID safety guidelines, a move welcomed by many New Yorkers who spoke to CBS2's Astrid Martinez.

What a difference a couple of years make -- from empty pandemic streets to closed parks, and forget about getting close to people. Remember all those social distancing signs?

"I think New York is coming back to the times where it was free and very happy times," Uptown Manhattan resident Marina Tselnik said.

Those reminders of a COVID-19 shutdown will now be a thing of the past, and many New Yorkers are looking toward the future.

"I got used to the guidelines, but I feel good about it. Very good. Very positive," Tselnik said.

While the pandemic is not over, the CDC says it no longer can severely disrupt our daily lives.

Doctor breaks down CDC's latest COVID guidelines 05:09

READ MORE: CDC updates its COVID-19 guidelines in sweeping overhaul

Thursday, federal health officials announced they are relaxing and revising COVID-19 guidance recommendations.

No longer do people have to quarantine if exposed to the virus, regardless of vaccination status. Instead, the CDC recommends masking for ten days and re-testing five days after exposure.

They're also dropping the 6-foot standard in order to reduce the risk of exposure.

"The CDC is trying to consolidate and simplify its guidance and remind us the pandemic is not over and a lot more people still need to get boosted," CBS News chief medical correspondent Dr. Jon Lapook said.

Part of the CDC's reasoning in lifting the quarantine recommendation for anyone exposed to the virus is the increase in people who have COVID-19 antibodies.

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As the number of weekly COVID cases has fallen significantly among children, the agency also cut back on several COVID-19 recommendations for schools, including removing strict social distancing measures and test-to-stay strategies where students exposed to the virus could remain in school as long as they continued to test negative.

As for New York residents, one man said he'll enjoy the new laxed guidelines and keep his mask handy.

"I still like to have it in a taxi and even a Broadway show, I feel comfortable wearing it right now because it's so many people so close, but I'm happy it's lifted, and I think most people are happy," he said.

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People who test positive should continue to isolate immediately and stay home for five full days. Isolation can end once symptoms, including a fever, are gone.

The guidance still encourages vaccination, testing for COVID if symptoms develop and staying home from school or work when sick.

The virus has killed more than 1 million people in the United States since it arrived in early 2020.

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