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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is considering relaxing coronavirus guidelines as early as Wednesday, allowing Americans who have been exposed to COVID-19 but are asymptomatic to return to work.
These individuals would be required to take their temperature twice a day for signs of a fever and wear a face mask when at work and out in public to prevent the spread of the virus, a person familiar with the proposal under consideration told The Associated Press. The person described the proposal on the condition of anonymity because the draft has not been finalized.
The new considerations by the CDC signal the slightest hope for a return to normalcy in the U.S. even as the death toll reached 13,929 and the country continues to grapple with 404,352 cases of the virus.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told Fox News’ “America’s Newsroom” on Wednesday that if the social distancing strategies implemented through the end of April are successful in slowing the curve and spread of coronavirus, the government could start to peel back some of the restrictions in the weeks to come.
“If, in fact, we are successful, it makes sense to at least plan what a re-entry into normality would look like,” Fauci told Fox News. “That doesn’t mean we’re going to do it right now, but it means we need to be prepared to ease into that.”
Even though “we’re starting to see some glimmers of hope,” the United States needs to “keep pushing on the mitigation strategies,” Fauci said, reiterating that tactics such as social distancing need to continue because “there is no doubt that that’s having a positive impact on the dynamics of the outbreak.”
Fauci, a member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, said that although the death toll is staggering in the U.S. — and third to only Italy and Spain with the highest number of deceased — “the deaths generally lag by a couple of weeks behind what’s fueling the outbreak, namely the number of new cases and the number of hospitalizations.”
Still, health officials, including Fauci, remain skeptical of reopening the country’s economy too soon, as recent studies suggest that some people who are infected with the virus do not show any symptoms, while others who have developed symptoms of COVID-19 and recovered may remain contagious.
Fauci told reporters during a press briefing Sunday that between 25 and 50 percent of infected Americans are not exhibiting symptoms of the virus.
“That is an estimate. I don’t have any scientific data yet to say that,” he added.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.