Today the CDC revised its coronavirus map. The United States has officially moved up to Level 3, the highest risk level, which means “widespread ongoing transmission without restrictions on entry to the United States.”
The language on the CDC’s travel resource pages is curious. The recommendation for Level 3 says “If you travelled internationally in the last 14 days: Stay home, monitor your health, and practice social distancing for 14 days after you return from travel.”
That’s fine, but what about domestic travel? The United States is now the world’s epicenter of COVID-19, with over 100,000 confirmed cases and climbing fast, according to the Johns Hopkins Resource Center. America has now surpassed Italy and China in the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases.
A week ago, the Department of State began advising that Americans avoid all international travel and telling citizens abroad to return immediately to the United States. Effectively, the government has banned international travel, but has yet to extend the policy to domestic travel.
Isn’t it time for a travel ban here in the U.S.? Per the CDC’s own definition, Level 3 reflects a “global pandemic notice,” which means “avoid nonessential travel due to widespread ongoing transmission of COVID-19.”
At this level, the CDC’s key points include:
- CDC recommends that travelers avoid all nonessential international travel.
- Older adults and people of any age with serious chronic medical conditions are at increased risk for severe disease.
- There may be limited access to adequate medical care in affected areas.
- US residents may have difficulty returning to the United States.
- Travelers should avoid contact with sick people and wash their hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
- All international travelers should stay home for 14 days after returning from travel, monitor their health, and practice social distancing.
So far in the United States, New York City accounts for the vast majority of COVID-19 cases, but new hotspots are emerging in Chicago, Detroit and New Orleans.
Meanwhile, even as the Trump administration refuses to issue a nationwide travel ban, some governors are stepping up with their own restrictions for travelers arriving in their states. The governors of Hawaii, South Carolina and Massachusetts have mandated that all people coming from out of state must self-quarantine for two weeks upon arrival. The governors of Texas and Florida have issued similar orders, but only for those arriving from highly affected areas such as New York City or New Orleans.
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