CDC Eases COVID Restrictions, But Mask Recommendations Are Increased For NJ

Are Thursday’s recommendations by the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention a mixed message?  Yesterday, the CDC issued guidelines which indicated a shift toward pre-pandemic norms, however, it also recommended increased mask use for New Jersey.

To view the complete summary of the CDC’s guidelines released on Thursday, view the scaled-back COVID-19 guidelines here.

To summarize the CDC’s new recommendations, the CDC is no longer recommending people quarantine after being exposed to someone with COVID.  They have also recommended dropping the guideline for people to stay 6 feet apart.  Instead, the agency recommends that people exposed to someone with COVID wear a mask for 10 days and test for the virus on the fifth day.

The guidelines for those who test positive remains unchanged. These individuals should remain in isolation for five days.  They may end their isolation after that time if they are fever-free for 24 hours without medication, and their symptoms are clearly improving.  The CDC says a mask should still be worn through the 10th day after testing positive.

Greta Massetti, a senior epidemiologist with the CDC’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control and one of the authors of the guidelines, says, “This guidance acknowledges that the pandemic is not over, but also helps us move to a point where COVID-19 no longer severely disrupts our daily lives.”

COVID clearly has not gone away, as the CDC reports that 2,800 died from the virus just last week in the United States.  As for New Jersey, the CDC says masks should still be worn when inside public spaces. The agency says masks should be worn indoors in counties with “high” COVID community levels.

Hudson County, as of yesterday, is listed as one of those :high” level counties.  In fact, 17 counties in the Garden State are in the “red,” or high risk category, with the exception of Sussex, Warren, Hunterdon, and Cumberland.  Those cpunties are listed as “medium” level risk.

Sixty-eight people in New Jersey died from COVID in the past week, and the New Jersey Department of Health reported 1,061 hospitalized patients with confirmed or suspected COVID as of Thursday.  That figure marks a decline from Tuesday’s total of 1,164 — the state’s highest COVID-hospitalization figure since February 16.

So, judge for yourselves.  But remain vigilant.  COVID has not gone away.