As COVID-19 spread around the globe, in a bit of a flash, there was no limit to the amount of uncertainty that we could conjure. It was a virus, sure, and we knew what they were supposed to act like, but we still seemed to have no clue at all about what to do.
Masks were not needed, then very much needed, then mandated. We’re coming up on year three of a two-week lockdown meant to flatten the curve.
Now, and only now that the economy is coming to a grinding halt, is the CDC dropping the quarantine time limits by 50%.
U.S. health officials on Monday cut isolation restrictions for Americans who catch the coronavirus from 10 to five days, and similarly shortened the time that close contacts need to quarantine.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officials said the guidance is in keeping with growing evidence that people with the coronavirus are most infectious in the two days before and three days after symptoms develop.
The decision also was driven by a recent surge in COVID-19 cases, propelled by the omicron variant.
So why did a surge in cases prompt a relaxing of the rules?
Early research suggests omicron may cause milder illnesses than earlier versions of the coronavirus. But the sheer number of people becoming infected — and therefore having to isolate or quarantine — threatens to crush the ability of hospitals, airlines and other businesses to stay open, experts say.
Of course, this does feel an awful lot like our elected officials watching their stocks tank and deciding it was time to get one more pump out of Wall Street before the end of the year.