The actual CDC' s New Definition of ' Close Contact' Really Means

Two individuals with masks and gloves converse during a train or something

Photo: Iakov Filimonov (Shutterstock)

Repeated brief encounters with the exact same person are now considered close get in touch with, according to a tweak to the CDC’s definition.

Previously, for someone to be a “close contact, ” that they had to remain within six feet associated with you for a stretch of a minimum of 15 minutes. The change recognizes that will, according to recent research , you don’t have to spend 15 minutes with the exact same person all at once. If you see the exact same person multiple times a day for a few mins at a time, they are still considered a detailed contact if those encounters add up in order to 15 minutes.


Here’s the official definition as it appears today:

Somebody who was within 6 feet of the infected person for a cumulative overall of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period* starting from 2 days prior to illness onset (or, for asymptomatic patients, 2 days prior to check specimen collection) until the time the sufferer is isolated.


That asterisk results in a footnote longer than the description itself, a sign that we are still within mostly-unknown territory when it comes to understanding how the particular coronavirus works. The CDC states the above definition is a reasonably great one if you’re looking for a concrete guideline, but adds that plenty of elements could be considered. You’re probably on higher risk if the person had energetic symptoms at the time, for example , or when they were up in your face instead of five feet away, or when they were shouting or singing.

All of us still don’t know how much safety masks really give us, so when you’re considering your contacts with individuals in your life, you may not realize that you—or another person—may not be wearing a mask properly. For example , you might remember “oh yes, that guy was wearing a cover up, ” but maybe it wasn’t fully covering his nasal area , or maybe it was damp, or made of a type of fabric that will lets a lot of droplets through. For anyone reasons, masks don’t factor to the “close contact” definition, even though they will almost certainly do   provide a good little bit of protection .

Different organizations might have definitions that differ from the one the particular CDC uses. Gothamist reports that New York City’s benchmark is 10 minutes of near contact instead of 15, for example. It is important to know about the CDC’s rule alter is that we have data that indicates shorter interactions add up.