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The CDC's new COVID-19 isolation recommendations follow a decline in hospitalizations nationwide and as the disease falls from being the nation's third leading cause of death early in the pandemic, to 10th last year; photo by Hakan Erenler on Pexels.com

Long-COVID fighters feel ‘sucker-punched’ by new CDC guidance

Advocates for people who suffer or have died from COVID-19 in Massachusetts and around the country say they’re alarmed by new federal health recommendations regarding the disease.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently announced people no longer need to isolate for five days and can return to regular activities, even with mild, improving symptoms and just one day after a fever.

Kristin Urquiza, co-founder of the group Marked by COVID, said the CDC has abandoned its mission to protect Americans’ health.

“We don’t want anybody else to have to go through what we’re going through,” Urquiza emphasized. “The entire community of millions of people are just sucker-punched right now by these recommendations.”

Urquiza noted more than 1,000 Americans still die from COVID-19 each week. Health officials said the recommendations reflect the progress made in fighting the virus, and people should still use common sense to protect themselves and others, including staying home when sick.

More than 1 million Americans have died from COVID-19 and it is estimated up to 20 million more continue to suffer from long COVID, with potentially debilitating symptoms.

Urquiza stressed despite the new health recommendations, advocates are pushing to establish COVID remembrance days, in Massachusetts and nationwide.

“These types of changes attempt to undermine the severity of what we continue to face,” Urquiza asserted. “It’s critically important that we do as much as we can to keep this in the forefront of people’s minds.”

Urquiza acknowledged COVID is not a politically popular topic but argued more funding is needed to address the pain and suffering it has caused. Advocates are also lobbying for a National COVID Memorial in Washington, D.C., to remember those like Urquiza’s father, whom she said was looking forward to retirement when he died from COVID in July 2022.

by Kathryn Carley, Commonwealth News Service

Kathryn Carley began her career in community radio, and is happy to be back, covering the New England region for Public News Service. Getting her start at KFAI in Minneapolis, Carley graduated from the University of Minnesota and then worked as a reporter for Minnesota Public Radio, focusing on energy and agriculture. Moving to Washington, D.C., she filed stories for The Pacifica Network News and The Pacifica Report. Later, Carley worked as News Host for New York Public Radio, WNYC as well as Co-Anchor for Newsweek’s long running radio program, Newsweek on Air. Carley also served as News Anchor for New York Times Radio. She now lives near Boston, MA.

Languages Spoken: English

Topic Expertise: education, environment, nuclear energy

Local Expertise: Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Maine, New York City, Wisconsin, Minnesota

Demographic Expertise: public schools, families, children, nutrition

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