US Federal Health officials, on October 21, issued new guidance altering the definition of “close contact” to COVID-19 patients. As per the officials, the guidance expands the pool of people who are at risk of contracting coronavirus infection by changing the definition of who is a “close contact” of the infected individual. These alterations are most likely to affect schools, banks amongst other workplaces where people are in contact for long periods, experts warned.
The changes which have been made by the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC) also underscored the importance of mask-wearing to prevent the spreading of the virus. “While a mask provides some limited protection to the wearer, each additional person who wears a mask increases the individual protection for everyone. When more people wear masks, more people are protected,” the CDC said in an online statement.
The top health organization had previously defined close contact as someone who spends at least 15 minutes within six feet of the confirmed case. However, as per the updated guidelines, close contact is someone who was within six feet of an infected individual for a total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period.
This comes as several states across the US filed for the coronavirus vaccine distribution plans, however, there hasn’t been any funding channeled by the Feds to pay for those vaccines yet, state officials told sources of US’ CNN. While the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention listed last week, October 16 as the deadline to turn in the distribution proposals, the states still do not have federal money to make the COVID-19 vaccine available to the state population.
In a televised interview with CNN, James Blumenstock, senior vice president for pandemic response and recovery at the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials said that the administration had no capability to fund the imminent implementation of the plan despite the distribution plan in place as they still do not have the required federal money to do so. Further, Blumenstock said, earlier, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention paid the individual states some $200 million to roll out the preparedness for the vaccine campaign, adding, that it is going to be a humungous one and would need tremendous funding.