New Science Suggests How to Shorten Quarantine

Testing upon exit of quarantine — ideally around day six or seven — is more effective than upon entry, and testing twice could make an eight-day quarantine as effective as a 14-day one

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“It makes no sense to use unduly restrictive quarantines while at the same time having indoor dining.”

But given the financial and mental health downsides to long quarantines, some rules for travel-related quarantine are changing. The CDC moved away from a blanket 14-day quarantine for international travelers at the end of summer. On November 3, New York implemented new guidelines allowing travelers from out of state to test out of the mandatory 14-day quarantine if they obtain two negative tests — one before their journey to the state begins and another four days after. Meanwhile, Alberta, Canada, is piloting a program in which certain travelers can do a test at the airport. Participants can leave their quarantine if and when the results come back negative, which usually takes two days, and they must also obtain a second test four or five days after that.

“I think these findings are consequential, as they provide a path to making quarantine less burdensome for people.”

The new study’s proposal to shorten the 14-day quarantine using carefully timed testing is a move in the right direction, says David Fisman, an epidemiologist at the University of Toronto’s Dalla Lana School of Public Health. “This makes total sense,” Fisman says. “We know Covid crosses borders. It makes no sense to use unduly restrictive quarantines while at the same time having indoor dining,” he adds, noting that more concern should be directed to the potential of superspreading events in the latter situation.

Health reporter uncovering overlooked science. Follow her on Twitter at @rkhamsi and get her new articles here: https://roxanne.substack.com/p/coming-soon

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