CDC Guidelines: It’s not that complicated

men in green shirt wearing mask Photo by Cleyder Duque on

Yes, things do keep changing. That’s because scientists constantly learn.

 With Omicron raging: Why aren’t we in lockdown?

Remember why we went into lockdown in the first place? We did that because we had no effective treatment and no vaccine for Covid-19. We hoped to “flatten the curve” so hospitals were not overwhelmed by severely ill people.

“Flattening the curve” was never intended to prevent the number of infections. Instead, it would hopefully limit the number of deaths.  If you look at the flattened curve, you can see that the number of infections under the curve is about the same, just drawn out over more time.

 We now have vaccines and anti-viral treatments for Covid-19. So, the logical extension of that is no more lockdowns.

I keep hearing about how confusing and complicated the CDC’s guidelines are.

So, I sat down after a cup of coffee and put the guidelines into a simple decision tree. Then I practiced yoga, took a hot bath, picked CoCo up from work and fixed lunch. I planned to present you with an official decision tree, but that seems like too much work, so I took a photo of my paper and pencil scratches. (You can even see some of the erasures I made because misjudged how much space I needed.)

A couple of CDC definitions:

Exposure: Contact with someone has COVID-19. That means less that 6 feet away from an infected person for a total of 15 minutes or more over a 24 hours period. (My note: You are not exposed if you came in close contact with someone who came in contact with someone with COVID-19.)

Quarantine: A strategy used to prevent transmission of COVID-19 by keeping people who have been in close contact with someone with COVID-19 apart from others. You quarantine when you might have been exposed to the virus and may or may not have been infected.

Isolate: A strategy used to separate people with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 from those without COVID-19. People who are in isolation should stay home until it’s safe for them to be around others.

What should you do if you are exposed to someone with COVID-19?

If you had COVID-19, when can you stop Isolating?

What does contact tracing mean?

Contact tracing is key to slowing the spread of COVID-19. You should notify anyone you exposed. See definition above and go to the first decision diagram.

How much simpler can it get?

Well, it does get a little confusing because some places still have a mask mandate in place. If you’re in quarantine, you shouldn’t go to restaurants or other gatherings where you’ll take your mask off and expose people. That’ll just make the contact tracing more difficult if you do contract COVID-19.

I have wide access to free testing. That’s not the case for everyone. If you have symptoms of COVID-19 and are unvaccinated, you should consider yourself positive.

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breating
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sorry throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

That’s a lot of symptoms. But look at it this way:

Do you want to get someone sick, even if it’s not Covid-19?

Err on the side of caution. Please.

Who do I think I am?

I’m not a physician or a health care provider. I’m not an infectious disease expert nor do I have experience in Community Health. I trust my health care providers to diagnose and treat me. However, I don’t expect my health care provider to be an expert on disease control and prevention. I trust the experts in Community Health to write the guidelines for disease control.

My expertise (over 30 years) is in writing procedures and interpreting regulatory guidelines. That’s why I can diagram the decision tree quickly. I’m a former microbiologist, but my expertise is considering microbes, their environment and what they need to be healthy and multiply. All living things have some things in common. On the other hand, viruses are not considered living.

Feel free to go to to check out my ability to interpret the guideline.

My understanding of COVID-19 has evolved as I gain information. I’ve been writing about COVID-19 since February 2020. You can track how my viewpoint mutated by entering keywords in the search bar. Covid, Sars, or Dr. Who will get you most everything. (Yes, I’m a bonafide nerd or a geek, too.)