COVID-19 Guidelines Reflect Philosophy Going Forward

With the persistence of COVID-19 and the emergence of new variants such as Omicron and Delta, the responses from individuals and organizations have varied in recent months.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC) has responded to the new threat of Omicron with a shorter quarantine time of five days, including a five day period of mask-wearing, partly due to scientific research revealing that COVID-19 is most transmissible in the early stages of infection, but also to maintain the structure of daily life.

“These updates ensure people can safely continue their daily lives,” CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said.

This seems to be opposite to the original sentiment during the early stages of the pandemic, shown in the original CDC guidelines recommending 14 days of self-quarantine for those who have been in close contact with an individual confirmed to have COVID-19. 

To me, it does not feel like COVID-19 is much different than it was since those guidelines were in place. It seems as though the CDC is focusing on keeping the world running, so they do not want to keep people out of work for more than a week. Because the new restrictions are weaker, they are hoping to supplement them with vaccines and boosters. It feels like the CDC has a new philosophy: people are going to get COVID-19; for the world to keep running, the only realistic thing to do is make COVID-19 less deadly with inoculation.

Kent County has given schools new regulations about quarantine time: the new CDC guidelines apply, but the school can instead have no mask requirements with a ten-day quarantine period. East Grand Rapids has stuck to the ten-day quarantine for confirmed cases as of now, however, some students still wear masks out of personal choice.

As of Jan. 11 Kent Country no longer requires schools to notify individuals of contract tracing reports due to the significant number of cases exceeding the capacity of the public health system. Instead, notifications will be given to classrooms, and the total number of positive cases per day will be sent to families.

The school has partnered with D&W to open an in-school clinic for people ages five and older to get vaccinated and ages twelve and older to get a booster. It was only planned for one day, but they have stated if there is sufficient demand, additional dates will be scheduled. 

Reflective of the CDC using immunization in parallel with their new guidelines, this clinic is an effort to encourage people to get vaccinated to supplement the preceding guidelines.