How long is COVID contagious?

Bookmarked State of Affairs: Dec 28 by Katelyn Jetelina (Your Local Epidemiologist)

The biggest news this week was that CDC changed their isolation policy. Their new guidance includes a reduction in the isolation period after a positive test from 10 days to 5 days for asymptomatic individuals regardless of vaccination status. They also changed the quarantine period to 5 days after exposure. Importantly, though, they recommended wearing a mask for 5 days after isolation and quarantine.

If I were in the room, I would have depended on four seminal studies published (herehereherehere) before Omicron. Together the results suggest a broad range of an infectious period ranging from 3-9 days… In short, the viral load increased to an infectious rate about 2 days before symptoms until about 4-5 days after symptoms… On average, viral clearance is about 5.5 days among vaccinated compared to 7.5 days for unvaccinated people.

Not updated for Omicron.

By Tracy Durnell

Writer and designer in the Seattle area. Freelance sustainability consultant. Reach me at She/her.

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