CDC says unvaccinated should not have traveled for Labor day weekend, warns of risk for vaccinated as well

Director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, says unvaccinated Americans should not travel during the Labor Day holiday weekend due to the rise in Covid-19 cases (CNN).  

“First and foremost, if you are unvaccinated, we would recommend not traveling,” said CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky at a White House Covid-19 Response Team briefing on Tuesday. She also said that although fully vaccinated individuals can travel while taking precautions, Covid-19 transmissions rates mean they, too, should consider the risk when choosing whether or not to travel.

At this time, the U.S. is averaging above 160,000 new cases per day, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University. Because the Delta variant is more transmissible and many students are finally returning to the classroom for the upcoming academic year, the rise in cases is causing many health officials to encourage reverting back to precautionary measures, like masking and distancing, that were in place last year.

The CDC notes that among those eligible for vaccinations, which includes all Americans 12-years of age and older, 38.5 percent are not fully vaccinated. While health experts are saying that being vaccinated is the best way to protect against the virus’ spread, Walensky said in early August that even fully vaccinated people can still transmit the virus.

“Our vaccines are working exceptionally well. They continue to work well for Delta, with regard to severe illness and death – they prevent it. But what they can’t do anymore is prevent transmission.” Covid-19 cases in people who are fully vaccinated are called “breakthrough,” but finding precise data on these types of cases is challenging; back in the spring, the CDC decided to only track serious, symptomatic breakthrough cases (CBS News).

As vaccinated individuals contemplate whether or not they should travel this holiday weekend, health experts say they should consider their personal risk, which includes things like local conditions, overall health, precautions taken, and exposure to unvaccinated people who could be infected.

Dr. Sharon Balter is the director of the division of communicable disease control and prevention at the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. Balter said, “People want to be told what to do – is it safe if I do this? What we can say is, “These are the things that are more risky, and these are the things that are less risky.’” The New York Times reported in mid-August that there is evidence that breakthrough infections are becoming more common as the Delta variant is on the rise.


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