The Centers for Disease Control and Protection is keeping the pandemic restrictions as nearly 500 deaths are still being reported each day in the US. The CDC plans to publish a new summary of its Covid guidance in the following weeks. According to a draft document reviewed by NBC News, no significant changes in current advice to pandemics are made, but there could be changes next week as the draft is not final.
Last week, the average Covid case numbers hit their new high, as an average of more than 136000 cases per day were recorded on 29 July. However, Covid patients are not overwhelming hospital systems now as they were early in the pandemic, and the average number of beds filled by the patients declined for the first time in more than three months.
NBC News data show that reported deaths are still increasing, with 477 recorded on Thursday, which was the highest seven-day average since mid-April.
One person with knowledge of the CDC plans said that the fact that around 500 people are dying every day with Covid is "huge" and does not bode well for any relaxation of restrictions soon.
"There's definitely something different now," said Dr. Todd Rice, director of Vanderbilt University Medical Center's Medical intensive care unit. "We haven't seen a critical illness from Covid in probably three months."
"We are hopeful that in the long run, the hybrid immunity is going to do a pretty good job at limiting the worst consequences of the virus," said Bill Hanage, an epidemiologist and associate professor at Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston.
Hanage, who was not involved with the CDC guidance, said that "it's reasonable to suggest that holding onto interventions is a good idea as we move into the fall and winter, which are likely to be worse."
High-quality masks are still recommended in indoor areas where there are high levels of Covid transmission. Anyone exposed to the virus should wear a mask in public spaces for 10 days and self-test for Covid five days after exposure. For people tested positive for Covid should at least self-quarantine for five days and wear a mask both at home and in indoor public places for ten days.