CDC Suggests US Travelers Take COVID Test, Regardless of Vaccine Status

CDC Suggests US Travelers Take COVID Test, Regardless of Vaccine Status

A hand holds a swab and puts it up a man's nose.
A man gets a COVID-19 test. (Daniel Knighton/Getty Images)

By Jay Clemons | Wednesday, 18 May 2022 09:33 PM

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is again recommending that domestic American travelers submit to a COVID-19 test — regardless of their vaccine status — roughly three days before each trip.

Last month, a federal judge in Florida struck down the CDC/Biden administration’s mask-mandate requirement for public transit, covering airline travel, taxis, buses, and ride-share services.

In that vein, the CDC’s request is more suggestion than a legally binding order.

International travelers coming into the United States are already required to show proof of a negative Covid test within 24 hours of expected travel, per CDC guidelines.

These international travelers must also be vaccinated.

For domestic travelers, though, they’re now free to hang out on planes and other transit modes, minus the obligation of donning a mask.

Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the CDC director, points to a recent surge of coronavirus cases in various U.S. regions.

Amid this change, she would welcome a return to mask and/or vaccine mandates for those taking public transportation.

"We urge local leaders to encourage use of prevention strategies, like masks in public indoor settings and increasing access to testing and treatment," Walensky said Wednesday during a White House briefing with reporters.

In its updated guidelines, the CDC writes, "Consider getting tested as close to the time of departure as possible (no more than three days) before your trip."

There are currently no federal regulations regarding masks, COVID testing, or vaccines for domestic travel. But the rules are different with some municipalities.

In New York City, the area has returned to a "high" alert level with COVID-19 precautions, citing an increase in cases and hospitalizations.

As such, the NYC health department requests that masks be worn in all public settings — including grocery stores and office buildings.

Coronavirus infections in NYC have reportedly risen to 95,719 per day, a 20% jump over the past week. However, that number doesn’t factor in how vaccines and therapeutics are readily available to U.S. citizens.

It also doesn’t account for natural immunity, which some medical experts believe provides greater protection against certain virus types.

Also, this week’s daily average of 340 COVID-related deaths reportedly represents a 35% reduction from the previous seven days.

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