CDC Advises Unvaccinated People to Refrain from Labor Day Travel

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The upcoming holiday weekend may not do the pandemic-fighting efforts any favors.

This weekend is Labor Day weekend, a time for rest, relaxation, and travel. Or at least it would be those things if we weren’t in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. For the entire duration of the pandemic so far, travel has been a bit of a touchy subject. Many are eager to be literally anywhere else but their own homes, and thanks to the vaccines and safety measures like face masks, it has become much safer to travel long distance. Of course, the obvious caveat to that is that you need to be vaccinated first.

Ahead of the long weekend, the US Centers for Disease Control have put out an advisory regarding travel. “First and foremost, if you are unvaccinated, we would recommend not traveling,” CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said at a White House COVID-19 briefing.

White House COVID-19 Response Coordinator Jeff Zients added that “it’s critical that being vaccinated is part of their pre-holiday checklist.”

Unfortunately, due to either access problems or individual reluctance, many parts of the United States still have relatively low rates of vaccination. People traveling from these areas could cause localized outbreaks of COVID-19 in other unvaccinated passengers, as well as reinforce the disease’s presence in areas where it may otherwise be dying down.

If you’re not fully vaccinated but still absolutely have to travel over the weekend, the CDC has recommended a checklist of precautions. Prior to your trip, 1-3 days or so, you should get tested for COVID-19. 3-5 days after you return from your trip, get tested again, and isolate yourself for at least a week. Finally, make sure to wear a mask when in close confines with other people, wash your hands frequently, and be aware of your own physical condition.

“People who are fully vaccinated, and who are wearing masks, can travel,” Walensky said. “Although, given where we are with disease transmission right now, we would say that people need to take these risks into their own consideration as they think about traveling.”

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