By Dylan Turkewitz
New York City, New York
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has eased the traveling precautions for vaccinated individuals. According to The New York Times, the CDC has permitted fully vaccinated Americans to travel within the United States without testing before and after or quarantining. Although this is the nationwide travel regulation, local governments may have their own mandates.
According to NBC, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said that although vaccinated people may be at a lower risk, "CDC is not recommending travel at this time due to the rising number of cases." The COVID-19 cases continue to persist, amounting to approximately 62,000 cases per day over a seven-day period. However, according to The New York Times, the number of deaths per day has decreased by approximately 900, and there has been a notable decrease in hospitalizations. Although that number is lower than it was in January, health officials believe that it is still a significant datapoint.
According to The New York Times, although the risk proves to be significantly lower for vaccinated individuals, Walensky still believes excessive travel can be dangerous for the greater population. Walensky said, “On the one hand, we are telling you we are worried about rising cases, to wear a mask, and to avoid travel...Yet on the other hand we are saying that if you are vaccinated, evolving data suggests that traveling is likely lower risk.”
No U.S. airline requires verification of being vaccinated, and no CDC guidelines require such evidence for travel either, according to NBC. Vaccinated travelers are still required to wear a mask, remain socially distant from others and wash hands regularly to avoid spreading the virus. Waleksky assures citizens that "taking prevention measures to stop the spread of COVID-19 is the path out of this pandemic."
According to The New York Times, health officials are worried about the potential effects of easing COVID-19 restrictions. Many questions remain unanswered surrounding the vaccine, such as how and if vaccinated individuals are able to transmit the virus, though CDC officials believe transmission is negligible in this case.
More than 107 million people have received at least one dose of the vaccine—32.4% of the U.S. population—as of early April. Additionally, more than 62 million Americans are fully vaccinated, which is 18.8% of the nation’s population. According to The New York Times, the CDC has reported administering an average of 3.05 million doses per day. By March 19, the nation was nearly 6 weeks ahead of President Joe Biden’s vaccination goal, which was to administer 100 million vaccinations by his 100th day in office.
The CDC has gradually eased COVID-19 restrictions for vaccinated people. The agency said that these citizens are able to socialize with each other without masks or remaining socially distant.