CDC plans to relax guidelines for some already exposed to the virus

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is considering amending its guidelines for self-isolation to make it easier for those who have been exposed to someone with coronavirus to return to work if they have no symptoms.

The public health agency, in collaboration with the White House Coronavirus task force, is planning an announcement as early as Wednesday, said Vice President Mike Pence.

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Under the proposed guidelines, people who have been exposed to an infected person would be allowed to return to work if they have no symptoms, test their temperature twice a day and wear a face mask, said someone familiar with the proposal to the study. The person was not allowed to publicly discuss the project because it had not been finalized and described the proposal on condition of anonymity.

The new policy is particularly aimed at workers in critical jobs. But it also happens when the Trump administration envisions what it calls a “stabilization” of infection rates and seeks to roll back some of the restrictive social distancing guidelines and restart the economy at a standstill.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the country’s leading infectious disease expert, said on Wednesday that even as death rates rose, the administration worked on plans to finally reopen the country amid “glimmers of hope” that social distancing helps stop the spread of the virus. .

“If, in fact, we are successful, it makes sense to at least plan what it would be like to return to normal,” he said on Fox News Channel.

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“It doesn’t mean we’re going to do it right now,” he added. “But that means we have to be ready to adapt to it. And there are a lot of activities going on. “

Dr. Deborah Birx, a leader in the White House coronavirus task force, called the CDC’s upcoming guidelines “very important”.

“It examines the degree of exposure and clearly shows that the exposure occurs within 6 feet for more than 15 minutes, in order to really understand where you should be within 6 feet of people right now,” Birx told CBS on Wednesday.

The proposed directions would follow CDC recommendations that relaxed the self-isolation requirements for front-line medical workers who were exposed to the virus. Under the guidance of the CDC, medical workers who have been exposed to the virus without protective equipment but who have no symptoms can return to work with a mask and temperature controls after 14 days.

Pence said on Tuesday that the White House is focusing on the “point of need” of the current situation, but is also operating on another track to consider future recommendations to the public.

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For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough, which go away within two to three weeks. For some, especially the elderly and people with existing health conditions, this can cause more serious illnesses, including pneumonia and death. In the United States, there have been approximately 400,000 cases and approximately 13,000 deaths.

In developing the recommendations, the administration appeared to be trying to balance the political concerns of wanting to maintain as much normality as possible with the public health concerns that certain infections are spread by people who appear to be in good health.

Associated Press writer Jill Colvin contributed to this report.

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