Latest changes prompt worry

If you follow news about COVID-19 like we do here at Access Press, you’ll note that the Centers for Disease […]

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If you follow news about COVID-19 like we do here at Access Press, you’ll note that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has announced that it would wind down much of its remaining guidance specifically targeted at COVID-19 That includes an official end to a pandemic-era plea for Americans to stay home for five days after testing positive.

Frankly, that is a huge worry for me as a person with disabilities. It is a red flag for many others as well. I heard a news report today that protests are being staged in Washington, D.C. to object to this change.

So why drop the isolation requirements? The CDC is pointing to improvements in the rates of hospitalizations and deaths inflicted by the virus during this past season. Here’s a quote:

“COVID-19 remains an important public health threat, but it is no longer the emergency that it once was, and its health impacts increasingly resemble those of other respiratory viral illnesses,” the agency said in a report defending its decision.

The health agency will switch to offering a unified approach to addressing risk from COVID-19, combing the cautions with those for influenza and respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV.

This change is the result of months of work to develop what is called a new pan-respiratory disease approach, blending together federal recommendations for various respiratory ailments.

The changes include new guidance for when to stay home when sick, when people should test for COVID-19 and when to put on masks. Everyone considered higher risk should test if symptoms occur. That could lead a person to treatment for the flu, or for COVID-19. Reports from the CDC describe testing as an additional prevention strategy.

The CDC is finding that fewer people are testing at home, and that mild cases are sometimes not detected until after the peak infection period has passed.

Guidance for health care facilities, such as long-term care nursing homes, isn’t changing at this time.

This of course is a huge concern for those of us who are vulnerable to disease due to our disabilities. While death rates may be dropping nationwide, the challenge I see is that people with disabilities will be further forced to isolate themselves.

So mask up, maintain distance and stay away from sick people. I am someone who doesn’t always find it easy to get up and move o transit, but I will not put myself at risk by sitting by someone who is coughing.

I am wondering, if we have yet another strain of this terrible disease, do the guidelines come back? And how do we get the genie back into the bottle?

This has been a hard four years. I fear it will be much harder for many of us.

  • "Stay safe, Minnesota. Take steps to protect yourself, & others from the COVID-19 virus."
  • "Stay safe, Minnesota. Take steps to protect yourself & others from the COVID-19 virus."

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