Dramatic, atypical times – and one can safely say the world is in the midst of such a moment – call for dramatic, atypical measures.
On the heels of issuing a Risk Assessment Level 3 travel advisory last week to avoid all nonessential travel to China, Iran, South Korea and Italy, and days after President Trump announced a month-long ban on European countries traveling to the U.S. due to the coronavirus, the CDC took such an unusual measure.
In conjunction with the State Dept., the CDC has issued a Risk Assessment Level 2 travel advisory for the rest of the world – including the United States.
Level 2 indicates sustained community spread, according to Forbes. Travelers should practice enhanced precautions, and older adults and those with chronic medical conditions should consider postponing travel. All travelers should practice a set of recommendations both during and after traveling.
On the advisory scale it’s obviously less serious, but to issue a Level 2 for travel within the United States is highly unusual.
But COVID-19 has now spread to every state in the country except West Virginia, moving at a rapid pace. As Forbes noted, “crowded travel settings, like airports, may increase your risk of exposure to COVID-19, if there are other travelers with COVID-19.”
At this level, the CDC’s coronavirus.org website recommends practicing social distancing – staying five to six feet away from someone else – washing hands with soap and water, using sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol and avoiding sick people. Level 2 also means that all travelers should monitor their health and limit interactions with others for a period of 14 days after returning from travel within the U.S.
Whether this leads to a domestic travel ban, as some fear, remains to be seen. But Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said Sunday on ABC’s ‘This Week’ that he doesn’t think it will come to that.
Domestic travel restrictions “have not been seriously discussed,” he said. “I mean, they’ve been discussed, but not seriously discussed. I don’t see that right now or in the immediate future. But remember, we are very open-minded about whatever it takes to preserve the health of the American public.”