On November 8th, travel restrictions to the United States changed, according to the White House. It will be easier for people to come to the US, provided they have either gotten the vaccine and have proof of a negative test for COVID-19 within 3 days of traveling, or for unvaccinated individuals, have gotten tested within a day of traveling. This is a large shift from the current travel restrictions, stating that travelers can not be in the countries listed in the CDC article for the 14 days prior to coming to the US. How this change will affect the amount of Covid-19 cases in the US has yet to be seen.
From previous times travel restrictions have been changed, the US has seen massive improvements. For example, the policies made following the events of 9/11 made travel much safer, and although you couldn’t check your first bag for free anymore, the benefits definitely outweigh the disadvantages.
The changes in Covid-19 air travel restrictions may not have as big of an impact as the ones following 9/11 did. Consequently, these new restrictions could be stricter. Could only letting people who are vaccinated come to the US be beneficial? Given the upsurge of cases when general Covid-19 restrictions were lifted in November of 2020, one can assume that the number of new Covid-19 cases in the USA would decrease with more travel restrictions in regards to vaccination. However, if travel restrictions were stricter, given the large influence of fake news on social media concerning the efficiency of the vaccinations and their side-effects, it could further the current polarity that is plaguing Americans.
What about the fact that any unvaccinated person is allowed into the US without having to be quarantined for 14 days, only needing to be tested for Covid-19 within a day of flying? In a study, false negatives for Covid-19 testing were 100% likely for the day that they contacted the virus, which decreased to a 67% chance by the fourth day of having Covid-19 and to 20% by the eighth day. This could have a huge impact on the amount of cases in the US, especially if an individual contacted the virus the day that they were tested.
Another thing to consider is how the vaccination affects the Delta variant. According to a CDC article, the Delta variant is more than two times more contagious than other variants, and vaccinated people with the Delta variant can still spread the virus to others, although for a shorter amount of time than for unvaccinated individuals. Considering the fact that vaccinated individuals are not required to be tested for Covid-19 to travel, the new air travel regulations could cause some of the vaccinated to spread the virus in the US after travelling.
All in all, is the US really ready for a change in Covid-19 restrictions? And will these new changes do more harm than good?