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COVID-19: Updated Isolation Guidance, Flu Combination Test, RECOVER Funding

Individuals who test positive for COVID-19 no longer need to isolate for at least five days, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC’s) March 1 guidance on respiratory illnesses.

In an effort to streamline guidance for COVID-19 and other respiratory viruses, the agency now says Americans can return to normal activities when they do not have a fever, are not using fever-reducing medication, and have improved symptoms for at least 24 hours.

Vaccine Update

CDC data gathered from September 2023 to January 2024 indicates that updated COVID-19 vaccines increased protection against symptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infection by 54 percent compared with no receipt of the updated vaccine. The vaccine offered protection against variants from the XBB lineage, which is included in the updated vaccine, and the JN.1 lineage, which became dominant earlier this year.

On Feb. 28, the CDC also announced that adults ages 65 years and older should receive an additional updated 2023–2024 COVID-19 vaccine dose.

The Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA’s) Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee will meet May 16 to discuss and recommend the selection of strains to include in the 2024–2025 formula for COVID-19 vaccines.

FDA Grants Emergency Use Authorization for First Flu Combination Test

The FDA on March 1 issued an emergency use authorization for the first over-the-counter, at-home antigen test that detects both influenza A and B, or the flu, and SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

SEKISUI Diagnostics LLC’s OSOM Flu SARS-CoV-2 Combo Home Test is intended for use in individuals with signs and symptoms of respiratory infection consistent with COVID-19 within the first four days of symptom onset.

The test is authorized for those 14 years old and older when performing nasal swabs themselves, and for those aged 2 years or older when an adult collects the nasal swab specimens.

RECOVER Initiative Receives Additional $515 Million

The National Institutes of Health announced Feb. 13 that it will invest an additional $515 million over the next four years into the Researching COVID to Enhance Recovery (RECOVER) Initiative, a nationwide research program focused on long COVID, a prolonged illness that develops after COVID-19.

The program first launched in 2021 with $1.15 billion in congressional appropriations.

One in 9 adults in the United States who have had COVID-19 continue to experience long COVID with a wide range of symptoms. Currently, nearly 90,000 adults and children are participating in RECOVER observational studies across the country.

Visit the America’s Essential Hospitals coronavirus resource page for more information about the pandemic.

Contact Senior Vice President of Policy and Advocacy Beth Feldpush, DrPH, at bfeldpush@essentialhospitals.org or 202.585.0111 with questions.

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About the Author

Andrea Lugo is a senior communications associate at America's Essential Hospitals.

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