New CDC Travel Guidelines Don’t Make A Whole Lot Of Sense To Me
After dragging their feet for a bit we finally have new CDC travel guidelines for vaccinated people. They are pretty much what I expected but I still don’t really get them, well some of them. I would say that some of the recommendations defy logic when you put it all together. But let’s take a look at what the new CDC travel guidelines say and where I get lost in the weeds a bit.
CDC Travel Guidelines For Fully Vaccinated People
Here are the highlights from the CDC site:
Fully vaccinated people can travel within the United States and do not need COVID-19 testing or post-travel self-quarantine as long as they continue to take COVID-19 precautions while traveling – wearing a mask, avoiding crowds, socially distancing, and washing hands frequently.
Because of the potential introduction and spread of new SARS-CoV-2 variants, differences in disease burden and vaccines, and vaccine coverage around the world, CDC is providing the following guidance related to international travel:
- Fully vaccinated people can travel internationally without getting a COVID-19 test before travel. That is unless it is required by the international destination.
- Fully vaccinated people do not need to self-quarantine after returning to the United States, unless required by a state or local jurisdiction.
- Fully vaccinated people must still have a negative COVID-19 test result before they board a flight to the United States. And get a COVID-19 test 3 to 5 days after returning from international travel.
- Fully vaccinated people should continue to take COVID-19 precautions while traveling internationally.
Where I Find The Disconnect
The CDC finally came out and said what we all thought they would a few weeks back. My guess is they were holding off until after the peak travel of Spring Break in order to not encourage even more travelers. Either that or they wanted more people to get vaccinated before making the announcements.
For domestic travel they essentially say to continue to follow social distancing protocols and mask wearing guidelines. Besides the fact that social distancing is not possible while flying this portion all makes sense. The CDC also says that there is no need to quarantine after travel if you are fully vaccinated. There is no need to be tested before or after your trip if you are vaccinated during domestic travel. I have no issues with this and it makes perfect sense.
For international travel they say there is no need for a test to board your departing flight unless the destination requires it. We have started to see countries open up to fully vaccinated passengers so this makes sense to me.
There is no longer a recommendation to self quarantine after your international trip, unless you obviously have symptoms of Covid-19 etc.
The next bit is the part that makes no sense to me. They are still requiring you to have a negative test result before boarding your return flight to the United States.
This Policy Seems Contradictory
So let me get this straight. People that are not vaccinated can fly around the US and are only suggested to get a test before and after their flights. It isn’t required but strongly encouraged. There is no such suggestion for vaccinated people, you are all clear for takeoff and landing.
When you leave the country there is no requirement of a negative test either, unless the destination country requires it. But, when you return to the United States you need a negative test even as a fully vaccinated citizen?
Flying in the country with more than twice as many covid cases as any other country, that is fine. Going to a country with substantially less risk, requires a test to fly home. How does that make sense? Wouldn’t you be leaving danger and going to a place that involves less risk with less cases? So why is it okay to fly around the US without the testing requirement, even unvaccinated people can, but on that return flight you need the test?
I mean it isn’t like the US is even the most vaccinated country right now and that would be the reason:
with a vaccination rate of 49 doses administered per 100 people, the U.S. is beat by Israel (113), Seychelles (105), the United Arab Emirates (89), Bhutan (61), Chile (58), the U.K. (55) and Bahrain (51). (Source: Forbes)
I guess it just doesn’t make sense to me. Flying around the most affected country in the world, fine. Coming home from a less risky country, nope, that requires a test.
Don’t get me wrong, traveling is a great privilege. One that we hopefully don’t take for granted any longer after the last 13 months of lockdowns and couch lounging. And, if you are able to travel internationally you should simply be happy to be doing it and a test isn’t the end of the world. I get all of that, I really do. The requirement does complicate things but that isn’t the part that bothers me.
The part that bothers me is the fact that there are more requirements to enter the most covid diseased country on the planet (by a long shot) than to travel around it. That just doesn’t make sense to me at all. If a fully vaccinated is pretty safe to travel in the US then going anywhere else should be no different. Heck, it should actually be theoretically safer! I am sure this will change in the coming weeks or months but we will have to live with the hypocrisy during the meantime.
It is likely that they are waiting for Government to make the change and then they will update their recommendations.
What do you think? Let me know in the comments.