The pandemic isn’t over, but CDC says we have better tools to live with COVID

Published: Aug. 12, 2022 at 6:37 PM EDT
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ATLANTA, Ga. (CBS46) – There are big changes to the CDC’s guidelines on COVID. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is easing its COVID-19 guidelines. Two of the main takeaways include dropping social distancing rules and the Atlanta-based agency says we don’t have to quarantine if we come into close contact with an infected person.

The CDC still recommends we mask up, but only in areas where community transmission is high. Also, if you or a person in your social circle is considered a high risk of severe illness.

“For example, right now in Atlanta and Georgia transmission is high based on the CDC guidelines. And the recommendation hasn’t changed in terms of wearing a high-quality mask like N95 indoors during those periods of high transmission,” said Dr. Felipe Lobelo, an Epidemiologist with Kaiser Permanente Georgia.

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Angel Sidny of Atlanta works in retail, in direct contact with customers every day. She worries about her vulnerable family members.

“I also have family members who are really old and have conditions that they would be really sicker than I would, so I don’t want to get them sick,” said Angel Sidny.

The changes come as the CDC acknowledges that an estimated 95 percent of Americans 16 and older have immunity from either being vaccinated or infected. 2 1/2 years since the pandemic started, Jennasis Savage says she’s keeping COVID on her radar.

“A lot of people lost people. So, I think the idea of trying to ignore or act like it’s just over is a little naïve,” said Jennasis Savage.

If you test positive for COVID, the CDC says you should still isolate yourself for at least five days. The CDC guidance also extends inside our schools. The agency says “test-to-stay” for unvaccinated students or students exposed to COVID isn’t necessary anymore. In metro Atlanta, many schools have already scaled back their COVID precautions.

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“I think that it’s important that if kids and their families feel that they still need to wear masks to protect themselves then we need to support that and not punish consciously or unconsciously those families and those kids,” said Dr. Felipe Lobelo.

Dr. Lobelo says a new vaccine formula expected later this year or early next year could change the course of the pandemic. He says the CDC will likely re-evaluate its guidance in six months.