Vanderbilt's Dr. Schaffner praises CDC quarantine revisions

Posted at 11:37 AM, Dec 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-02 19:41:15-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has shortened the recommended length of quarantine after exposure to someone positive for COVID-19.

The new guidelines allow people who have come in contact with someone infected with the virus to resume normal activity after 10 days, or 7 days if they receive a negative test result.

That's down from the 14 days recommended since the onset of the pandemic.

Vanderbilt's Dr. William Schaffner, a global expert on infectious diseases, praised the CDC's new guidelines.

"A lot of us have been hoping we get a good revision of quarantine," he said.

Schaffner says the decision was made after new research gave top health experts a better understanding of how the virus spreads.

"That’s consistent with all the information we’ve been gathering over time. It’s good public health, it’s good for the individual, it’s good for the economy, and it’s good for the quarantined person’s mental health," he said.

Recently, the CDC has come under fire for mixed-messaging when it comes to wearing a mask and quarantine practices. Schaffner rebuffed those claims, asking people to remember that our knowledge of COVID-19 continues to evolve because it's a new phenomenon.

"Of course there will be people who don’t understand who will criticize, but the point is, the more we learn the more we integrate that information into recommendations," he said. "The more we learn, the more we can fine-tune the recommendations. That’s what we’re doing now. We in public health think that’s normal. We do it based on the science and we can improve our functioning the more we learn."

Schaffner also highlighted the economic benefit of a shorter COVID-19 exposure quarantine practice.

"Get everybody back to as much as a normal way of life as soon as we can -- carefully," he said.

You can hear more from Dr. Schaffner Wednesday night on NewsChannel 5 at 4, 5 and 6.