As the holiday weekend approaches, people who aren’t vaccinated against COVID-19 should not travel for Labor Day, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advised this week.
With COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations still surging due to the delta variant (especially among unvaccinated people), it’s crucial to keep safety in mind when gathering with people outside of your household. And there are a few ways that people in the U.S. can protect themselves and their communities when thinking about gatherings over Labor Day Weekend, CDC director Rochelle Walensky, M.D., MPH, said in a White House press briefing.
For instance, regardless of whether or not you’re vaccinated, you should consider holding any parties outside rather than indoors, she said. And if you’re indoors, wear a mask (again, regardless of your vaccination status).
“Throughout the pandemic, we have seen that the vast majority of transmission takes place among unvaccinated people in closed, indoor settings,” Dr. Walensky said. “As I’ve said before, masks are not forever, but they are for now. Given the high transmissibility of the delta variant and the significant community transmission in this country, wearing a mask is the easiest way for anyone, regardless of your vaccination status, to slow the spread of disease.”
She also recommended that people take this time to talk with those around them who may be hesitant to get a COVID-19 vaccine. “Talk with family and friends who are still unvaccinated about the benefits of the vaccine and consider taking them to get vaccinated over the long holiday weekend,” she said.
But when asked about whether or not people should travel for Labor Day, Dr. Walensky said that the guidance depends on your vaccination status. “First and foremost, if you are unvaccinated, we would recommend not traveling,” she said. For those who are vaccinated and wearing masks, travel is possible, but “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.”
The most recent CDC guidelines state that people in the U.S. should “delay travel” until they are fully vaccinated. People who are fully vaccinated can travel safely within the country but should take certain precautions to protect themselves and others, including wearing a mask indoors and monitoring themselves for any COVID-19 symptoms.
But, as Dr. Walensky said, even vaccinated travelers need to take the current delta-fueled coronavirus surge into account and factor in the level of spread in the place they’re starting and their destination. Considering how widespread the virus is at this moment, it’s a riskier time for anyone to travel so, depending on why you’re considering a trip and how essential your travel is, it might be best to delay.
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