The CDC has issued a clarification and an update to its travel advice ahead of the winter travel season after incorrect information was published on Friday. The update gives advice about who can travel safely during the upcoming holiday period, and what steps travelers can take to ensure they are safe and protected over the upcoming holiday period.
The CDC – along with the US Department of State – has been an important source of information for travelers throughout the course of the Covid-19 pandemic, due to both its domestic travel guidance and updates and the role it plays internationally with its Travel Health Notice warning system. Here’s a closer look at the mistake the CDC made this week, what the actual update is and what we might expect from the upcoming winter travel season.
Restriction Reversal As CDC Admits Error – Information For Travelers
By now, almost two years into the pandemic, travelers are used to updates from the CDC. However, just last Friday, the CDC posted guidance that left travelers, industry experts and medical experts scratching their heads. The CDC’s update on how Americans should celebrate the festive period was the same as last year – virtual celebrations, staying at home and avoiding gatherings – despite the progress made towards vaccination and existing CDC guidance that allows travel.
The update was criticized by many. Dr. Monica Gandhi, who is the Professor of Medicine and Associate Division Chief of Infectious Diseases at the University of California, said:
“Telling everyone in 2021 that the only way to celebrate Christmas safely is virtually really doesn’t tell the vaccinated that there was any kind of reward for being vaccinated.”
However, just days after the update was posted, the CDC backtracked, and cited a computer glitch as the reason why the incorrect update was posted. Speaking about the error, Kristen Nordlund, from the CDC’s public affairs department, said:
“The content is in the process of being updated by CDC to reflect current guidance ahead of this holiday season. The page had a technical update on Friday, but doesn’t reflect the CDC’s guidance ahead of this upcoming holiday season. CDC will share additional guidance soon.”
The Real CDC Update – What Travelers Should Know
On Monday, the CDC updated its website with new advice for those planning to travel this winter. According to the website, travelers should delay travel until fully vaccinated, with the CDC maintaining that those who are fully vaccinated are safe to travel within the United States – though they are encouraged to wear masks in public places and if coming into contact with unvaccinated people.
The CDC has a comprehensive list of things that those who are unvaccinated but planning to travel should follow in order to remain safe. It states that they should:
– get tested beforehand
– wear a mask almost all the time
– avoid crowds
-practice social distancing
– take another test after returning home
– quarantine for seven days upon returning home
As we get closer to the holiday season, the advice from the CDC could yet be updated once more should the situation deteriorate in a similar manner to lady year’s holiday season. On the weekend Dr. Anthony Fauci, chief medical adviser to President Biden, stated it was too soon to tell whether holiday gatherings should be limited this year – which means it’s not out of the question that the CDC recommends staying home for Christmas.
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Disclaimer: Current travel rules and restrictions can change without notice. The decision to travel is ultimately your responsibility. Contact your consulate and/or local authorities to confirm your nationality’s entry and/or any changes to travel requirements before traveling. Travel Off Path does not endorse traveling against government advisories