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New Shorter CDC Quarantine Guidelines Will Help Reduce U.S. Flight Cancellations

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In an announcement late on Monday, the U.S. Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated their recommended timeframe for quarantine, coming as positive news for travelers and those working in the travel industry.

The updated CDC guidelines include a reduction of the recommended quarantine period from 10 days to 5 days for persons who are asymptomatic but have tested positive or have been exposed. The shortened quarantine is then followed by 5 days of mask-wearing while around other people.

family of four taking a selfie at the airport, wearing masks

Reduced Quarantine Period Will Help Airlines With Ongoing Staff Shortages

This week’s travel guidance update from the CDC could have a potentially positive effect for travelers across the United States. With the recommended quarantine time reduced, this will get flight attendants, pilots and other airline staff back to work sooner if they are asymptomatic but need to self-isolate due to a recent exposure or after testing positive. 

For any travelers that plan to take all of the necessary precautions but have been reluctant to book a trip due to the long 10-day quarantine recommendation, Monday’s news could also change their travel plans for the near future. 

The previous guidelines of a 10-day self-isolation period have been in place for almost two years, since the beginning of the pandemic. 

traveler with mask checking in at the airport

U.S. Airlines Announced Almost 8,000 Flight Cancellations Over The Holidays

It’s no secret that the travel industry has suffered over the past two years, and airlines around the world are grappling with ways to stay afloat. Airlines are struggling with everything from staff shortages, delays and travelers stuck for hours to days due to sudden flight cancellations

airport rush

End of the year 2021 proved to be a hassle for many travelers throughout North America. Over 1,500 flight cancellations occurred across the United States over the holiday weekend, with more expected into New Year’s. Most U.S. air carriers from United Airlines to JetBlue to Alaska Airlines were forced to cancel a number of flights due to a rise in Covid cases among the airline staff over the last few weeks of December. 

And U.S. airlines have called for health officials to help them in the process. Just last week, Delta Air Lines asked the Centers of Disease Control to decrease the recommended quarantine period, pleading that it would help with staff shortages. The CDC didn’t follow up with a reply on the matter.

traveler holding her suitcase at the gate at the airport, wearing a mask

New Guidance Could Impact Workforce, Domestic Travel

A shorter quarantine period for those impacted by Covid could potentially have a trickle down effect for all Americans. 

Just hours following Monday’s announcement, officials in the state of California said they will shorten the quarantine and isolation timeframe for those who test positive and/or have been exposed to the virus from 10 days to 5 days, to be in line with the new CDC guidance. With one state already adhering to the updated guidelines, there’s a possibility that other U.S. states will follow suit. 

Cancelled all flight on flight information board at airport effect from COVID-19 pandemic situation and lockdown policy (Cancelled all flight on flight information board at airport

Reduced Quarantine Follows Evidence Of Higher Transmission In Early Stages Of The Virus

During Monday’s update, the CDC noted research which shows that most Covid transmissions occur in the early stages when someone is infected with the virus. The evidence indicates that a person is most contagious for 2 days prior to symptoms, and 3 days once any symptoms might take place.

”CDC’s updated recommendations for isolation and quarantine balance what we know about the spread of the virus and the protection provided by vaccination and booster doses. These updates ensure people can safely continue their daily lives. Prevention is our best option: get vaccinated, get boosted, wear a mask in public indoor settings in areas of substantial and high community transmission, and take a test before you gather,” stated Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the CDC’s director.

passport in airport

The latest research shows that while the omicron variant is highly contagious, symptoms are often milder than previous variants. As the world is looking to move on from this pandemic in 2022, officials are finding ways to keep businesses going and making sure people can safely return to their day-to-day lives. 

“Not all of those cases are going to be severe. In fact many are going to be asymptomatic,” Dr. Walensky said. “We want to make sure there is a mechanism by which we can safely continue to keep society functioning while following the science.”

Woman in virus protection face mask sitting in empty airplane. Covid-19 evacuation flight                     (Woman in virus protection face mask sitting in empty airplane.

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Disclaimer: Current travel rules and restrictions can change without notice. The decision to travel is ultimately your responsibility. Contact your consulate and/or local authorities to confirm your nationality’s entry and/or any changes to travel requirements before traveling.  Travel Off Path does not endorse traveling against government advisories


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