Some countries shortening quarantine recommendations

Posted at 2:46 PM, Oct 28, 2020

Several countries have started shifting to a shorter quarantine recommendation.

Places like France are now telling COVID-19 patients to quarantine for seven days instead of 14. Other countries like Spain, Belgium and Germany are having people quarantine for 10 days.

The idea here is that a shorter quarantine is better than no quarantine at all. Some people may find it difficult to self-isolate and because of the long period, they may not attempt to do it.

“If you have a job that requires you to be there, you’ll miss two weeks’ worth of work,” said Marcus Plescia, Chief Medical Officer at the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials. “Even if you have a job with really good benefits, where you can take sick leave and they can accommodate that, even in that situation, it’s going to be difficult for most people.”

Another idea that supports this is that many people will not need the full two weeks to develop COVID-19 symptoms. The Association of State and Territorial Health Officials says the vast majority of people are showing symptoms within four to six days.

They do say that the downside to shorter quarantine is that there is the possibility they will miss some people who start showing symptoms later on.

Utah is one state that has approved a shorter quarantine period under certain guidelines. The governor there has allowed students to return to school after seven days of quarantine, if they have not shown symptoms. That’s specifically for students who were wearing a mask and were at school when they were exposed.

Some more states are also considering a shorter quarantine time for children in grades K-12.

“They tend to be asymptomatic or have very mild symptoms, so there’s not a danger for the most part, there’s not a danger to the children themselves,” said Plescia.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is currently looking at shorter quarantine periods for college-age students.

Depending on what they find, the CDC may be able to issue new guidance on self-isolation periods to get states on the same page.