According to a CDC scientist participating in the process, updated criteria to determine COVID-19 limits will be revealed later this week or early next week by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The CDC’s current recommendations for mask use and social distance are based on the number of new cases per 100,000 persons and the % of positive testing in the previous seven days.
According to the CDC scientist, guidance will soon be based on COVID-19 levels in individual counties.
“When you get to this level, you’ll want to consider doing this; when you get to this level, you’ll want to consider doing this,” the source stated. “Hopefully, they’ll emphasize how critical it is for local health departments to make judgments based on local circumstances.”
According to the scientist, 97 percent of counties have substantial or high transmission based on existing standards, but the modified criteria will place fewer counties at the highest levels of transmission.
The requirements have changed for two reasons, according to CNN: many more people have been vaccinated, and the dominant Omicron strain causes considerably lesser sickness.
Instead of focusing solely on local cases, the CDC wants to place a greater emphasis on important outcomes like hospitalizations, ER visits, and fatalities, similar to how the agency monitors influenza, according to the scientist.
“We can better understand the impact of COVID on people and the healthcare system because of the meaningful implications of the illnesses,” the person told CNN.
“Over the last few weeks, people have been highly engaged and working very hard—I mean really hard—on this. It began before Omicron, but because Omicron drew everyone into it, we’ll be able to finish it.”
According to CNN, several states have already announced revisions to their COVID limits, and some governors have requested the CDC for further clarity on how to make such decisions.