The new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines come as the omicron variant continues to drive up case numbers.
"I think there are a lot of questions around this and it's going to take a few days to sort out the best path forward," said Dr. Emily Hyle, an infectious disease specialist at Massachusetts General Hospital.
At the moment,10 days isolation is the standard. The new CDC guidance calls for people who test positive but have no symptoms to quarantine for five days and mask up for five more when around others. Those who are fully vaccinated and exposed to COVID should quarantine for five days.
Hyle said the decision to change the guidance now is based on how sick -- or not -- people are getting.
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“The five day isolation recommendation from the CDC really hinges on what people's symptoms are at the time of that five days and additionally recommends five additional days of well-fitting masking," she said.
People we spoke with Tuesday are mixed. Many feel this may be happening too quickly considering the current COVID surge.
“I think its too soon, especially when it's increasing like crazy," said Robert Abrha of Malden. "It's better to go at least seven to 10 days I guess."
Tona Hines of Chelsea agreed. “I think its too soon. I would prefer the 10 days to make sure people are safe, to make sure everyone is clear of COVID. I think five days... that's not enough time."
Adriana Matos of Quincy said the new recommendation makes her nervous.
"I think quarantine 10 days is good, because it's very dangerous," she said. "A lot of people use no mask, no vaccine -- it's very crazy."
But others are fine with just a five day quarantine period.
"Well that seems to make more sense right now," said Annie Oppedisano of Malden. "I think more and more people are vaccinated, so the threat of really getting or dying with COVID is less, so whatever the CDC says I'm with."
Brandon Pham from Revere agreed.
“Science does not lie," he said. "If that's what the doctors feel and that's how they feel, all right."