Press Release: Long Covid Families on the impact of new CDC Covid Isolation Guidelines on Children, Families, and Schools

March 4, 2024

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Monday, March 4, 2024

On March 1, 2024, the CDC released new guidance recommending that people with COVID-19 no longer need to isolate for five days after symptoms end. Below is a statement from Long Covid Families founder and president Megan Carmilani

“The new CDC guidance on Covid isolation puts our most precious national resource – our kids – at increased risk. We don’t have the tools we need to protect our kids from Covid, nor from the risk of Long Covid: long-term, often disabling, chronic consequences caused by Covid that will reverberate across lifetimes and generations to come.”

“Four years into the ongoing pandemic, the impact on children continues to be an afterthought: pediatric populations still struggle to access vaccines and parents are often misinformed by healthcare providers regarding their necessity. Children under 2 are unable to wear masks. One-way masking is ineffective if you’re eating school lunch next to peers with Covid. Medication options for children under 12 are still lacking, and teenagers often face challenges in accessing approved treatments. Moreover, there is minimal investment in pediatric research to understand the risks of Covid, Long Covid, and treatments for children.”

“The CDC’s Background for the new guidance references pediatric Long Covid data from the 2022  National Health Interview Survey, but omits data from a recent, comprehensive state-of-art-review published in the March 2024 issue of Pediatrics, showing that current pediatric post-acute sequelae of SARS CoV-2 (PASC) prevalence is estimated between 10 – 20 percent. That’s two out of every 10 kids.

“The Background  also asserts that COVID-19’s “health impacts increasingly resemble those of other respiratory viral illnesses, including influenza and RSV,” but fails to mention respiratory viruses are actually increasing among children, and have added additional strain on the pediatric medical infrastructure over the past two years. The CDC January 12, 2024 update summarized that “pediatric hospital beds were in short supply, primary care offices were very busy, and demand for over-the-counter medications was higher than expected, leading to shortages in some areas. The current season is the second season during which [flu, RSV and COVID-19] have spread at high levels simultaneously. COVID-19 continues to cause a larger number of hospitalizations and has been involved in many more deaths than flu and RSV combined.”

“Additionally, the CDC failed to address the impact of the new guidelines on schools. School attendance is compulsory, and numerous school districts nationwide have already communicated updated attendance guidelines to parents via email. These new guidelines state that children who test positive for COVID-19 but whose symptoms are improving and who are fever free for 24 hours, are not required to isolate. Fever is not a reliable indicator of infection nor the potential to transmit illness.These new guidelines will put our children at increased risk of Covid infection, and make it even harder for parents to keep children with Covid home from school.

“It’s alarming that our national public health protection agency is relaxing isolation guidance when emerging data shows a significant community impact on children. This guidance removes yet another protective barrier against the harm from long term Covid consequences for children, especially those required to attend school. The CDC must stop playing politics with our children’s health and futures. Their motto is “Saving Lives, Protecting People.” It’s time for them to start doing both.”