The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its COVID-19 guidance Thursday to ease recommendations for people who are unvaccinated and have been exposed to COVID-19.

Previously, the CDC advised that people who were unvaccinated or hadn’t received their booster shots should quarantine for five days after exposure. If no symptoms appear, the quarantine can end.

The new guidance no longer recommends that unvaccinated people quarantine after exposure, instead suggesting they mask up for 10 days and get tested five days after they were exposed.

This is the same guidance that was previously given to vaccinated and boosted people who were exposed to COVID and essentially simplifies the CDC’s quarantine recommendation. Americans who are exposed to the virus, regardless of vaccination status, no longer need to stay at home if they’ve had an exposure, per the CDC’s latest guidelines.

“We’re in a stronger place today as a nation, with more tools — like vaccination, boosters, and treatments — to protect ourselves, and our communities, from severe illness from COVID-19,” Dr. Greta Massetti, chief of the field epidemiology and prevention branch at the CDC and one of the authors of the updated guidance, said in a statement.

“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,” she said.

The CDC also included updated guidance on how people can use testing to end their isolation after getting sick with COVID-19, recommending two negative tests 48 hours apart before going out in public again without a mask.

The new guidance recommends people take their first test on day six of isolation if they’re fever-free, with a second rapid test 48 hours later.

If both tests are negative, people can leave their homes and not use a mask around others. Massetti said the CDC decided to recommend two tests, two days apart, because of recent Food and Drug Administration studies showing the serial testing, or testing multiple times, improves efficacy of rapid tests…. (Read more)