Yesterday the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) added seven more destinations to its Level 4 “very high” risk category for travel, bringing the total to 74 nations. Per CDC guidance, Americans should now avoid travel to France, Iceland, Aruba, Israel, Thailand, French Polynesia and Eswatini. Those who absolutely must travel should be fully vaccinated, according to the agency.
With the delta variant of the coronavirus wreaking havoc around the world, the CDC has been on a tear in adding to its “Do Not Travel” list. Last week, the agency named 16 countries to the “very high” risk category, including Greece, Ireland, Malta, St. Barts, St. Martin and the U.S. Virgin Islands. They joined other popular destinations already on the list, like the United Kingdom, Portugal, Spain, the Netherlands and Costa Rica.
Destinations that fall into the “very high” risk category have reported more than 500 cases per 100,000 residents in the past 28 days, according to CDC parameters.
The ridiculous irony, of course, is that the United States would easily make its own “Do Not Travel” list. The U.S. is currently recording 42.4 new daily Covid-19 cases per day, per 100,000 people. Meanwhile, Americans are warned not to travel to the United Kingdom, where 39.7 new Covid-19 cases per 100,000 people are popping up daily.
It’s also noteworthy that the CDC does not keep a domestic “Do Not Travel” roster. But if the CDC applied its own standard to individual states, nearly four out of five would currently be flagged as a “Do Not Travel” destination.
Of the seven countries added yesterday to the CDC’s “Do Not Travel” list, the one with the highest infection rate is French Polynesia, which is currently reporting an average of 122.6 new daily cases of Covid-19 per 100,000 people, according to data from the Brown School of Public Health. Comparatively, Florida and Louisiana are currently tallying 185.9 and 115.8 new daily cases per 100,000 people, respectively.
If Florida were a country, it would be the second-most infected place on the planet, just behind Guadeloupe. If Louisiana were a country, it would be at no. 4 in the world for new daily Covid-19 infections.
The CDC added St. Martin to the Level 4 list last week. The Caribbean island is currently reporting 85.4 new daily cases per 100,000 people, roughly the same as Oklahoma, which is logging 84 new daily cases per 100,000 people.
The third country added to the CDC’s list yesterday is Aruba, which is reporting 72.8 new daily cases per 100,000 people. In that ballpark, Mississippi and Arkansas are currently adding 79.5 and 75.7 new daily cases per 100,000 people, respectively.
Eswatini also made the CDC’s “Do Not Travel” list. The African country formerly known as Swaziland is recording 59.6 new Covid-19 infections per day, on average, per 100,000 people. Comparatively, Alabama and South Carolina are seeing 66.9 and 54.6 new cases per 100,000 people, respectively.
Yesterday the CDC also put Israel into the Level 4 category. Currently, Israel is recording 36.0 new daily cases of Covid-19 per 100,000 people. In the United States, 11 more states meet or exceed that number of cases per 100,000 people: Georgia (51.1), Tennessee (49.8), Texas (48.8), Missouri (46.5), Kentucky (45.7), Alaska (42.4), North Carolina (40.8), Wyoming (38.5), Kansas (37.4), Hawaii (36.3) and Washington (36.0).
Iceland and France also made the CDC’s “Do Not Travel” list yesterday, with 32.6 and 31.3 new daily cases per 100,000 people, respectively. Those destinations are roughly on par with Nevada and Arizona, which are currently adding 35.5 and 33.1 new cases every day per 100,000 people.
Thailand, with 29.2 new daily cases per 100,000 people, was also bumped up to Level 4 yesterday. Three states — Iowa (29.3), California (29.3) and Idaho (29.1) — are in that neighborhood of infections per 100,000 people.
Looking further down the CDC’s “Do Not Travel” list, a trio of destinations — Greece (24.8), Costa Rica (23.8), Portugal (22.5) — are seeing roughly the same level of Covid spread as Oregon (28.1), Utah (26.8), Indiana (25.8), New Mexico (24.6) and Rhode Island (23.0).
And even further down the roster, three European countries — Spain, the Netherlands and Malta — are seeing between 15 and 17.1 new daily cases per 100,000 people. Another 11 states are recording a similar or higher rate of new Covid-19 cases: Illinois (22.1), Montana (21.9), Wisconsin (20.9), West Virginia (20.2), Virginia (19.1), Delaware (18.9), Nebraska (18.1), Colorado (17.8), District of Columbia (17.7), New York (16.9), Ohio (15.4) and Connecticut (15.2).
In its broader guidance, the CDC recommends against all international travel for individuals unless they are fully vaccinated.
For domestic travel, the CDC recommends that unvaccinated Americans delay travel until they are fully vaccinated. And, regardless of vaccination status, everyone is advised to wear masks in indoor settings when in an area of substantial or high transmission.