WASHINGTON – CDC officials are considering changing guidelines for self-isolation to enable those who have been exposed to the coronavirus to return to work if they are asymptomatic.
The public health agency, in conjunction with the White House coronavirus task force, are considering an announcement as soon as Wednesday, according to the Vice President.
The new policy is aimed in particular at workers in critical jobs and would allow medical workers who have been exposed to the virus and who have no symptoms can return to work with a mask and twice-daily temperature checks after 14 days.
Dr. Deborah Birx, a leader on the White House’s coronavirus task force, called the upcoming CDC guidance “a very important piece.”
“It looks at degree of exposure and really making it clear that exposure occurs within 6 feet for more than 15 minutes, so really understanding where you shouldn’t be within 6 feet of people right now,” Birx told CBS on Wednesday. “But if you’re in a work situation where you have to be, there will be a series of recommendations that if you had had a significant exposure of what specifically to do, and if you’ve had a less exposure what to do.”
Pence on Tuesday said the White House is focusing on the “point of need” for the current situation but also is operating on another track to consider future recommendations for the public.
“Some of the best minds here at the White House are beginning to think about what recommendations will look like that we give to businesses, that we give to states, but it will all, I promise you, be informed on putting the health and well-being of the American people first,” Pence said.
For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death. In the United States, there have been about 400,000 cases and about 13,000 deaths.