The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is declining to issue new guidance regarding travel for COVID-19-vaccinated Americans at this time, due to concerns over new surges that could yet be caused by travel.
“What we have seen is that we have surges after people start traveling, we saw it after July 4, we saw it after Labor Day, we saw it after the Christmas holidays,” CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said during a March 10 COVID-19 briefing in response to a question from CNN’s Kaitlan Collins. Walensky stated that, since 90 percent of the American population currently remains unvaccinated, the CDC will wait to release its updated guidance until “we have more protection across the communities and across the population.”
Walensky declined to provide advice at this time about whether it was safe for the 10 percent of Americans who are already immunized to travel and champing at the bit, although—like everyone else—they’re presumably impatient to start traveling again.
The prospect of resuming air travel especially seems to have various groups in disagreement. The airline industry has lately been pushing back against new CDC guidelines, which say that COVID-vaccinated persons should continue to avoid travel.
In a statement this week, industry group Airlines For America (A4A) insisted that flying poses a low risk of COVID-19 transmission, due to thoroughly filtered and frequently exchanged cabin air, as well as the federally mandated wearing of masks while onboard. “We remain confident that this layered approach significantly reduces risk,” A4A said.
In its first set of guidance issued for fully-vaccinated Americans, the CDC stated that fully-vaccinated people can safely:
—Visit with others who’ve also been fully-vaccinated in indoor settings without wearing masks or social distancing.
—Visit with low-risk, unvaccinated people from a single household without wearing masks or physical distancing while indoors.
—Refrain from quarantine and testing measures, even after known exposure to someone who was asymptomatic.
The CDC does, however, specify that vaccinated individuals should still continue to practice several important safety precautions, at least for now. It says they should still do things like wear masks, social distance and practice other prevention measures while out in public, when visiting unvaccinated people who are high-risk for severe COVID-19 disease and when visiting with unvaccinated people from multiple households; as well as continuing to avoid medium- and large-sized in-person gatherings. They should also get tested if they begin to experience COVID-19 symptoms.