My Latest Thinking on COVID

The CDC announced last month “acceptable alternatives” to shorten the 14-day quarantine they recommend for all close contacts.

  • Alternative #1 – Contacts can reenter the community after Day 10 if no symptoms. The residual post-quarantine risk is estimated to be 1% with an upper limit of 10%.
  • Alternative #2 – Contacts can reenter the community after Day 7 if no symptoms and they test negative. The test must be within 48 hours before the planned return (Day 5 or Day 6). The residual post-quarantine risk is estimated to be 5% with an upper limit of 12%.
  • Note – With both alternatives, continued symptom monitoring, masking, etc. must take place through Day 14.

I am pleased the CDC reduced the 14-day quarantine because it was quite the burden on families and our school. The increased risks with the two alternatives are low enough in my opinion for us to implement these alternatives as policy. Of course in the case of a major outbreak, we would stick with the 14-day quarantine, but with low transmission in community as it is currently, we could implement the alternatives. I also see this note near the end of the report about people waiving quarantine protocols by showing a high antibody count. The TIS COVID Response Team will seek advice from our medical experts to see if we will implement the new protocols.

Serologic testing: The utility of serologic testing to provide evidence of prior infection that would permit exclusion from quarantine has not been established and is not recommended for this purpose at this time

“Options to Reduce Quarantine for Contacts of Persons with SARS-CoV-2 Infection Using Symptom Monitoring and Diagnostic Testing” December 2, 2020 CDC link

I am concerned about reports from the UK and USA about the new coronavirus mutation. Thankfully, the mutant virus strain is not more lethal, but it may be much more highly infectious, perhaps up to 50-70% more. There are no reports of the strain in Uzbekistan but I would guess genome typing is rare or do not exist here. With more people being infected, more people will die. “The Mutated Virus is a Ticking Time Bomb: There is much we don’t know about the new COVID-19 variant—but everything we know so far suggests a huge danger” by Zeynep Tufekci in The Atlantic discusses the new variant the rollout of vaccines. We will be monitoring the rate of infection closely to see how it impacts our school community.

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