6 Reasons The New Federal Warning Not To Travel To 80% Of World’s Countries Is Bizarre

The State Department announced a ‘do not travel’ recommendation for 80% of the world’s countries. They are explicit that this decision is not their assessment of risk for those countries, but a change meant to mirror what the CDC already says.

However this is the wrong direction for travel guidance, and it’s the CDC that should be updating risk assessment. Indeed the CDC’s current guidance does not match actual risk.

The State Department announced Monday that it would begin to update its travel advisories to more closely align with those from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a change that “will result in a significant increase in the number of countries at Level 4: Do Not Travel, to approximately 80% of countries worldwide.”

“This does not imply a reassessment of the current health situation in a given country, but rather reflects an adjustment in the State Department’s Travel Advisory system to rely more on CDC’s existing epidemiological assessments,” the department said in a media note.

Six reasons immediately stand out why this is an odd move, and an especially odd move now:

  1. They are making this change now at what seems like the tail end of the pandemic? Or at least over a year into it, when many nations are closing than that to being out of it.

  2. Variants are already spreading in the US. Risk of contracting and spreading stems more from the activity you engage in wherever you are – even at home – than through travel itself (crowded poorly ventilated indoor spaces)

  3. The government isn’t recommending avoiding restaurants in this matter. A new federal grant program for restaurants is rolling out.

  4. Most states (not Oregon) are lifting mask mandates. This leaves travel as one of the only times and places masks will be required – but it is somehow less advisable than being maskless indoors at a bar or gym?

  5. The US isn’t trying to eradicate covid, just to control it. Places where it is spreading uncontained mean greater risk of virus mutation which is why a better policy to protect ourselves is to help vaccinate the world quickly… yet tens of millions of AstraZeneca doses sit stockpiled here.

  6. This guidance shouldn’t apply to those who have been vaccinated in any case since CDC guidelines now say you can travel internationally if vaccinated. Now that any American adult who wants a vaccine is eligible for one, and appointments are exceeding demand (and risk to young children who aren’t yet eligible for vaccination is generally lower than for vaccinated adults), seems like the strangest time to begin telling people not to travel.

N.B. You are “out of your lane” commenting on this analysis unless you’re able to compare levels of risk across time and types of activities.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

More articles by Gary Leff »


  1. Chalk this up to another thing Biden/Harris are doing that contributes to vaccine hesitancy. Aside from that, the silly policy of requiring vaccinated travelers to get a PCR test (which can be expensive home and abroad) simply to reenter their home country seems very silly to me.

    Most of the places that are allowing Americans to travel (Iceland etc) have done exceptionally well containing the pandemic

  2. Still planning to travel internationally later this year. Fully vaccinated and can get where I plan to go (on US airlines). This is all theater. The state department can’t stop you from going or really do anything to you if you do.

    Thanks Biden and Fauci for this BS. Seriously Bermuda is level 4 – SMH

  3. I don’t believe that the health authority says non-essential travel should be avoided for fun. Travel is a huge driver in bringing in variants and covid, even to those vaccinated. The more people stay in their local regions the less the spread.

  4. N.B. – Gary doesn’t seem to able to compare risks himself. This statement alone undermines the entire article.

    “They are making this change now at what seems like the tail end of the pandemic?”

    Maybe the tail end of the pandemic in the US. But absolutely not true globally – you, know the rest of the world that makes it a pandemic. It’s not the tail end of the pandemic until vaccination is widely available globally. And that’s *maybe* 4th quarter of this year. Maybe. But right now the pandemic is still raging across a lot of the world. And places that have insisted on “Zero COVID” (looking at you Australia) are absolutely stuck waiting for vaccines.

    That said: This move is absurd on the fact that it doesn’t treat vaccinated travelers any different from non-vaccinated travelers.

  5. So Gary when are you planning to travel to Brazil or India since it’s so safe to travel for vaccinated people? As RealBob says, it’s a global pandemic. Not everything the government does makes sense to us, (maybe including this) but they are privy to data that we are not. Mixing the variants of other countries (of which there are likely many more than we are aware of) is stupid. Stay home if possible for now.

  6. India is Level 2! India is Level 2! India is Level 2! India is Level 2! India is Level 2! No joke. Same as Australia and Antarctica. That is all you need to know about rigor of this work.

  7. The Indian variant of this virus is causing serious concerns in the halls of power around much of the world.

    While that variant too is already confirmed to be in the US, injections of more of that variant in the US would jump up and spread more if US-related international passenger travel demand and supply were to surge.

    By the way, ORD this past Sunday morning was way busier than I’ve seen that airport usually be on early Sunday mornings pre-pandemic. Given that half of the country hasn’t even gotten two weeks beyond even one jab of a Covid-19 vaccine, expect the social activity of traveling to drive up and widen the spread of the Indian variant in the US and beyond.

    In this battle between vaccination and virus, State and CDC are doing what institutions do: attempting to provide themselves cover in case something goes awfully wrong in the time ahead.

  8. Any travel advisory that tells Americans that France, Germany, or Botswana are as dangerous to visit as Iraq, Afghanistan, or North Korea is a pile of horseshit. And then the State Department wonders why so many people don’t take Level 4- Do Not Travel warnings seriously. Hey, State – did you ever consider that perhaps it’s because over the years you have trained them to ignore your warnings?

    When everything is classified as dangerous, people have a hard time figuring out what things actually ARE dangerous. This move serves no one well. Why not just assign a separate COVID Risk Warning, independent of the usual Travel Advisory, and revise it as needed?

  9. Don’t mind the fact that daily covid cases are up in the US by 23% over a month ago or that hospitalizations are up 10% across the country over a month ago. Just shows that all these rollbacks in things that helped slow the virus are now leading us into surges, but sure fly around see what new variants can be picked up. Maybe someone will bring back to the US one of the variants that the vaccine is not effective against and restart us all from square one.

  10. Miamiorbust,

    India will be revised. The Modi government and its allies have been badly covering up India’s Covid-19 mess (check out how the crematorium services and manufactured oxygen are in short supply nowadays and overwhelmed in the country. State knows this, but India is a strategic ally so hay-making is a bit different.

  11. @ GUWonder. India is level 2. Don’t think the US government is worried about variants from there, at least based on their own rating. If anyone can explain Level 2 for India – kinda hard to overlook updating rating or second populous country in world – you will have my unending respect. Unlocking that logic train would be straight out of a Beautiful Mind. I contributed tax dollars toward this analysis. Somebody please help me understand India as Level 2.

  12. @GUWonder. Don’t think India’s COVID carnage is a big secrete but I do appreciate your thoughtful conclusion that these ratings are based primarily on political considerations. Guess that is fair for State department but the optics are pretty horrible. Vaccinated Americans, don’t travel but if you must India is a low risk option. Indians, welcome back to America.

  13. Well Gary,
    Don’t blame me. I voted for the mean orange man. What will the Vegetable In Chief think of next? Does this travel warning extend to the thousands of untested/unvaccinated or tested and found to be positive people flooding across the border daily or are those rules only for lawful residents who have put up with this nonsense for too long now?

  14. Sadly you are far from the tail end of the virus. How many peaks and valleys have we had and people keep saying the worst is over? Most of the world are having serious issues with vaccines and cases are not dropping.

    But we can’t have common sense on a travel blog can we?

  15. Rich,

    The commercial travel bloggers need travel to pick up big time for their bank card referral commission income to get back to peak pre-Covid-19 levels.

  16. For all those genuinely concerned about international travel by US citizens bringing back a new variant of the virus, lets think thru the implications of such a line of thinking.

    1. US citizens are not unique in the ability to carry the virus. Therefor, all people, no matter what citizenship or where they are coming from, must also be denied entry into the US.
    2. We don’t know where the next variant will originate (so far we have the UK, South African and Brazilian variants of the Wuhan/China virus) Therefor, we must ban people from anywhere/everywhere else in the world. Just banning travel to today’s hot spots won’t cut it.
    3. The virus will also be with us for the indefinite future/forever. Only smallpox has been eradicated, and that took an extremely effective vaccine and decades of effort. Therefor, we must continue to ban people from outside the US from entering indefinitely/forever as well
    4.There is also the risk of completely new viruses as well (just like the Covid19 was a new virus) The COVID19 virus was spread by travelers from China throughout the world. If the US had a ban on people entering the country in place a couple of years ago, the Covid virus would not have made it to the US. Therefor, all countries need to lock their borders just as Australia and New Zealand have.
    5. Cases have still slipped thru into Australia and NZ, therefor, our lockdown must be even tighter that what they have implemented.

    In short, everyone needs to stay in their own damned country and just forget about international travel of any type. (after all it’s for the children and our own good)

  17. and not forget about flu! CDC estimates* that, from October 1, 2019, through April 4, 2020, there have been:
    1) 39,000,000 – 56,000,000 flu illnesses
    2) 410,000 – 740,000 flu hospitalizations
    3) 24,000 – 62,000 flu deaths
    By banning travel these numbers could be decreased significantly.
    (after all it’s for the children and our own good)

  18. CHRIS – quit griping that the party of the jackass put one in the White House! The New Messiah has blessed the border so COVID is not coming in with the illegal border crossings. And, even if COVID does somehow sneak in, with a wave of his hand The New Messiah will raise the COVID dead. I’m a believer in the power of our Democrat savior as I saw the dead raised in South Texas to vote. Accept that Biden is our anointed one (as CNN staffers have testified)!

  19. @GUWonder, stop telling fibs. Anyone can go state department web site. Gary blocks links but it is public information. Absolutely transparent. These ratings are a global belly laugh. I am a huge fan of America. Really cannot understand why our government across administrations is so eager to put politics (local or international) above protecting our health. You know Uncle Joe messed up on this one. India is Level 2! India is Level 2! India is Level 2!

  20. Bermuda is Level 4 – Do Not Travel: “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a Level 4 Travel Health Notice for Bermuda due to COVID-19, indicating a very high level of COVID-19 in the country.”

    Yemen is also Level 4 – Do Not Travel: “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a Level 4 Travel Health Notice for Yemen due to COVID-19, indicating a very high level of COVID-19 in the country.

    The U.S. Embassy in Sana’a suspended its operations in February 2015, and the U.S. government is unable to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens in Yemen.

    Terrorist groups continue to plot and conduct attacks in Yemen. Terrorists may attack with little or no warning, targeting public sites, transportation hubs, markets/shopping malls, and local government facilities. Additionally, there is a continuing threat of kidnapping/detention by terrorists, criminal elements, and/or non-government actors. Employees of western organizations may be targeted for attack or kidnapping.

    Military conflict has caused significant destruction of infrastructure, housing, medical facilities, schools, and power and water utilities. This limits the availability of electricity, clean water, and medical care. This instability often hampers the ability of humanitarian organizations to deliver critically needed food, medicine, and water. Critical levels of violence, to include armed conflict, artillery shelling, and air strikes, persist throughout the country. There are also reports of landmines throughout Yemen.

    Cholera is present throughout Yemen. There is a limited availability of medicine and medical supplies, and adequate medical treatment is unavailable.

    There is a very high risk of kidnapping, and detention of U.S. citizens in Yemen, particularly dual national Yemeni-Americans. Rebel groups in Sana’a have detained U.S. citizens, including dual Yemeni-American citizens. U.S. citizens, including dual nationals, have faced difficulty – including lengthy delays – when attempting to depart Yemen.

    Due to risks to civil aviation operating within or in the vicinity of Yemen, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has issued a Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) and/or a Special Federal Aviation Regulation (SFAR). For more information U.S. citizens should consult the Federal Aviation Administration’s Prohibitions, Restrictions and Notices.”

    Does anyone REALLY believe the risks of traveling to Bermuda and the risks of traveling to Yemen are in any way comparable? If not, then why have they been given the same Level 4 Travel Warning? This is simply dumb.

    Level 4 should be saved for places like Yemen. Places where COVID is the major problem should be given a Level 3 warning, with strong emphasis on the COVID risk in the section explaining the reason for the warnings. Most people WILL reconsider their need to travel to places like India and Brazil, even if they are vaccinated, if the risk is clearly explained. Save the Level 4 warning for places that no one outside of active duty military, State Department officials, or humanitarian aid organization workers should even be thinking of visiting.

  21. Miamiorbust,

    I almost always have my facts checked carefully, and this is no exception nor Halloween trick. CDC has India listed as Level 4.

    Go do a basic google search for “CDC travel India”. It pulls up a link to a CDC.gov page that literally says this:

    “Level 4: COVID-19 Very High

    Updated COVID-19 in India
    April 19, 2021
    Travelers should avoid all travel to India.”

    I am not awaiting your apology for your incompetence and false accusations about my words, as all that matters is the fact that CDC has India listed as Level 4. The very fact I noted repeatedly and accurately in this blog entry’s comment section.

  22. Contemplating a trip to India right now , unless for compelling personal circumstances, would be borderline insanity; similarly opening borders to arrivals from India would be extremely foolish.
    Australia has ZERO community transmission: ALL cases are international arrivals in compulsory hotel quarantine…and the majority of those are coming in from India ( although it’s not made public lest the xenophobic ferals in the community go ballistic). These cases are both returning citizens and Indians with permanent residency status.
    There is too much unknown about these variants. Open borders, in and out, is playing Russian Roulette…

  23. Malawi has been downgraded by US State Department to level 4 today, supposedly due to COVID.

    There were 9 new cases recorded yesterday in a population of 20+ million (of which 1 was detected by testing at the border and sent straight to quarantine), with a total of 12 symptomatic cases currently hospitalized nationwide. The 7-day average of new infections is 11 people per day and the positivity rate for testing is below 3%. It ain’t New Zealand, but its pretty much as normal as you can get in a country whose borders are open to those with PCR tests. In comparison, even Australia had 37 new cases yesterday in a similar sized population.

    Ironically, CDC has rated Malawi as level 3 – so a strange situation where the State Department claims that the situation is more serious than CDC does. In fact, using CDC’s published evaluation criteria which takes into account number of per-capita tests, positivity rate and new infections per capita, Malawi is on track to be level 1 if the current situation persists for another 10 days – yet State is somehow sees it as needing to be downgraded to level 4.

  24. Paolo, most countries in the world are not Australia or New Zealand. They cannot completely seal their borders without totally wrecking their economy, and in any case, for them it’s too late, as the virus is already circulating widely. For those places, it comes down to managing risk, not trying to totally eliminating it (the time to try for that was 12 months ago).

    The problem with what the US State Department is now doing is that in the long run it leads to people like Otto Warmbier getting into serious/fatal trouble because they give no credence to US State Department Level 4 Travel Warnings as “everyone knows they are grossly exaggerated.” And when a US State Department Level 4 warning is put on a place like Bermuda, it’s hard to argue that point. The problem, of course, is that some places absolutely DO deserve a Level 4 warning, and so we don’t want to train people to ignore it!

  25. India is listed as Level 2 on State’s site, but it is listed as Level 4 on the CDC site.
    I hope this clears up the confusion caused by posters with conflicting claims that India is Level 2 or Level 4.

  26. Your point number 5 is most relevant. The CDC and Fauci “sold” lockdowns to the American people on the basis of not overwhelming the health care system – which has happened multiple times in SOME parts of the country but on a widescale basis for a much shorter period of time and, by that time, some states had already started to reopen on their own.
    Many legal experts (and I am not one) said from the beginning of covid that the US does not have the legal authority to require healthy (or not confirmed sick) people to stay home, unlike many other countries. No state has tried to enforce true state at home orders or even the “hall pass” requirements that some European countries require(d) to leave your home.
    The US does also not have the legal ability to inhibit the free movement of people between states.

    International covid restrictions are ALL that the CDC and the State Dept acting as its agent can do.

    And, as noted, the US is hypocritically now calling the rest of the world “unclean” when that is exactly the way the US has been seen by the world for much of the past year.

    Given that European and Latin government leaders have pressed the Federal government to release the Astra-Zeneca vaccines which the US holds, all of the talk about stronger relationships with America’s allies rings pretty hollow. If the US can keep the pace of vaccinations up even with the JnJ vaccine on the sidelines right now, the AZ vaccine isn’t ever going to be needed in the US.

  27. Never before have more people died in a week that in the past week alone. Seriously dumb post, but then the level of commentary in America has been seriously dumb for a long time and the results show — one of the wealthiest countries in the world has been unable to protect its citizens from death and long term medical issues, make sure health care wouldn’t have to be rationed, or from one of the longest hit to the economy.

  28. @Artemis
    I think there’s very little difference between Aus/NZ and USA is respect of economic impact of closed borders; indeed, if anything the US was far better placed to contemplate tighter border restrictions, given the far greater size of the domestic market/economy, and relatively less reliance on exports.
    The “but they’re islands, so it’s easy” argument doesn’t resonate with me: it was a matter of public policy/will, not geography.
    In any case, not restricting flights from India, at least in the absence of strict quarantine, is lunacy, IMO.

  29. Paolo, I am fine with governments imposing flight restrictions to/from countries having huge COVID outbreaks. I don’t care if other countries close their borders or open their borders. I DO care, though, when the US State Department knowingly exaggerates the actual risk of traveling to another place for purely political reasons, because it teaches people to ignore real warnings they do need to heed.

    There is simply no universe where it makes sense for both Bermuda and Yemen to be given the same level of travel warning, period. Anyone who argues otherwise is insane. Likewise, it makes no sense whatsoever to argue that 80% of the world’s nations are as dangerous to visit as hellholes like Yemen, Afghanistan, and Iraq. But that is exactly what the State Department is about to say.

    Oh, and currently the official US State Department Travel Advisory for Australia is Level 2 – Exercise Increased Caution. The reason begins with a C. Does that make ANY sense to you? Because it certainly does not to me! If by some miracle I found myself in Australia tomorrow, I’d be quite confident I could in fact take many fewer precautions than I am currently exercising in the US.

    Ridiculous rather than realistic travel warnings serve no one.

  30. Paolo,

    Given how connected the US is with Mexico and Canada, the US restricting travel from those places couldn’t really be pushed beyond what was done.

    India is already restricted in a way, given how tough it is to get a US visa nowadays there. Non-VFR travel to the US from India has not been what non-VFR travel has been from Brazil, but it does beg the question of why Brazil should be treated differently than India at this point.

    “India will be revised.” And it will be revised by State. CDC has India as level 4, as it should be given Covid-19. State didn’t get all its numbers right.

  31. Artemis,

    The notion that adventurous types or others are going to be desensitized to the warnings because of this COVID-19-related adjustment falls flat on its face. Most people have never spent much attention to most of those State country warnings, and this COVID-19-related situation won’t change a thing in that regard either. Most international traveling US persons tend to go where they want to go whether or not State adjusts a risk level for the foreign country.

  32. Just hypothesizing that a potential reason for the State Department and CDC guidance is to provide diplomatic cover for allies whose populations may face greater restrictions due to slower vaccination rates than U.S. visitors, and thus helps allied leaders avoid more of a political problem with their constituents. And for those countries who are not-quite the best of allies, but whose economies benefit from travel and tourism, the State Department position is a potential carrot to dangle (or a middle finger) for seeking some type of diplomatic concessions.

  33. GUWonder, if no one pays attention to State Department travel advisories, then why does the State Department waste their time issuing them?

    Either the advisories carry weight (in which case they should be an accurate assessment of an American traveler’s risk in each country) or they do not (in which case they should be discontinued as useless). You cannot have it both ways.

    So tell me: in your eyes is the degree of risk to an American traveler so similar in Bermuda and Yemen that a Level 4 – Do Not Travel advisory is appropriate for both countries? Is Bermuda as dangerous as Yemen, or conversely, is Yemen as safe as Bermuda?

  34. False binary from you, artemis. Reading is essential. Here is what I said:

    “Most people have never spent much attention to most of those State country warnings, and this COVID-19-related situation won’t change a thing in that regard either. Most international traveling US persons tend to go where they want to go whether or not State adjusts a risk level for the foreign country.”

    “Most” does not equate with your “all” or “none” false binary type thinking.

    Warning or.not, people go where they want to go when and if they are allowed. State and CDC aren’t putting chains around your use of a passport for 80% of the world’s countries. They are doing what institutions often do: providing themselves cover so as to take the heat off themselves if and when Americans decide to exercise their travel freedom despite the potential risks out there.

    In 80% of the countries, there probably is a lack of what I consider great healthcare availability. And during a pandemic, healthcare facilities matter. Have you paid attention to what is going on with the supply of oxygen for medical service use around the world? Ending up with a bad case of Covid-19 or anything else serious in an ambulance or hospital abroad when there is a shortage of even full oxygen cylinders is a recipe for worse health outcomes in an emergency than at home in the US.

  35. No, GUWonder, it is NOT a false binary. The simple fact is that the State Department has lumped hundreds of countries with completely different levels of travel risk into the same, most restrictive travel advisory, Level 4 – Do Not Travel. If a would-be traveler is looking for accurate information about the degree of risk he will be taking if he goes to a particular country, he won’t find it now from the State Department Travel Advisories. There is simply no universe in which travel to Bermuda poses risks even remotely comparable to an American citizen that traveling to Yemen does. You know it, I know it, so why is the State Department pretending otherwise?

    It’s not the State Department’s job to provide themselves with cover. It’s their job to potential provide accurate information. They are failing at that job.

    And travelers who visit countries where the health care system have always placed themselves at greater risk compared to staying home. The pandemic hasn’t changed that, it’s only making that reality a bit more obvious. That information can and should be communicated to the traveler, but that is as far as things should go. I’d also point out that some of the countries still holding lower-level travel warnings have pretty rickety healthcare (like Fiji, still rated at Level 2 ). If I came down with COVID, I’d far rather be in Bermuda than Fiji, as it is a shorter medevac to the US from there.

  36. The State Department’s travel warnings have seldom been credible. Just for fun a couple of years ago (before COVID) I read what they had to say about Denmark. Anyone who read that out of context would be appalled and scared. I’ve always said that if the State Department used the same standards to evaluate the U.S. as it does to evaluate other countries anyone taking them seriously would be hiding under their bed.

    If everywhere is “dangerous”, then the word “dangerous” loses its meaning. The State Department warnings are mainly CYA

  37. “If everywhere is “dangerous”, then the word “dangerous” loses its meaning. The State Department warnings are mainly CYA”

    Yes, Dave, and that is something I view as a problem to be fixed, not a desirable state of affairs.

    We have the same problem with consumer product safety warnings. From the viewpoint of an individual company, there is no downside to putting “warnings” on their products such as “cape does not permit user to fly.” But there is a societal downside: too many such ridiculously obvious warnings teach people to not even bother to read the product warning label, which leads them to miss real warnings such as “do not mix this product with bleach.” Anyone who isn’t brain dead knows that putting on a Superman cape doesn’t enable a person to fly, but plenty of people who never took chemistry don’t know that mixing ammonia and sodium hypochlorite generates toxic chlorine gas.

    Overly-exaggerated warnings are just as bad as no warnings at all, because both can result in people being ignorant about the true level of risk they are assuming when they do a particular activity (whether it’s cleaning a toilet bowl or flying to Costa Rica during a pandemic). Accurate information is what is required. Exaggerated CYA warnings or “lying for the greater good” inevitably backfires.

    If the US Government really doesn’t want people to travel right now, the answer is to close the borders, not to issues ridiculously exaggerated travel advisories.

  38. “Cape does not enable you to fly” type warning labels may actually increase eyeballs on warning labels.

    Due to this State and CDC warning thing, there probably has been a big spike this week in people looking at the country warning stuff.

  39. It seems this is a realistic assessment of the risk of travel for most people. Almost all the countries in the world have lower vaccination rates than us. Why can’t we recognize that. Agreed we need to support other countries in their vaccination efforts, which we are, but at a less than 50% vaccination rate here in the USA saying we have “stockpiles” of vaccines is not accurate, especially when the safety of some vaccines is under consideration (even though I have hopes they will be re-approved). If the USG gave away vaccines willy-nilly and we ran out, or some were proven not as effective or as safe for whatever reason and we had to switch to other vaccines, we’d be in an uproar. We need to balance our populations needs with our responsibility to provide safe, effective vaccines to other countries. In many cases those countries cannot handle high tech delivery (ultra cold etc) requirements to most of their population, so some vaccines aren’t as ideal to donate. There are so many factors. I work in the international security realm as a contractor to the State Dept and would normally be traveling to Africa and Latin America and the Middle East every month, but can’t because its not safe (even though I am vaccinated) enough for the people who support our work who are NOT vaccinated to gather and meet. Think about what your travel does- it requires staff in close quarters to risk their lives on planes or hotels or airports to support your vacation. So please, don’t travel like there are no consequences just because you are vaccinated and can. I recognize there is an economic impact too. Which is why we also need to consider aid to support those countries that are suffering.

  40. GUWonder, we actually know from the National Weather Service’s decades’-long experience that the opposite is true. Too many false warnings cause people to tune the warnings out completely. That’s why the National Weather Service has worked so hard to improve their severe storm warnings over the years. “Oh, those sirens go off all the time, they mean nothing” has cost many lives over the years. That’s why they work so hard now to ensure the warnings are only issued for small areas where there’s a real danger to be concerned about (instead of issuing county-wide warnings that cause people to be warned about a tornado that’s 100 miles away and moving in the wrong direction to hit their city, which is what they used to do a couple of decades ago).

  41. People are historically way more motivated to check out and pay attention to weather alerts about tornadoes than to pay attention to State’s country reports about travel risks, so comparing them is a bit like comparing a green apple to a red beet.

    About tornado warnings, technology has changed to enable making warnings more tailored than they used to be and people really care about weather alerts in a way they here have about State’s country reports. Most Americans who travel abroad don’t really care about State country risk reports, don’t even known they exist. Lack of popular familiarity = less for the institution to lose from not tailoring tightly and taking the institutional and professional self-preservation position to “cover all flanks” more rather than less.

  42. “in a way they here have about State’s country reports”

    should be replaced with

    “in a way they haven’t cared about State’s country reports.”

  43. They are hoping to prop up our obliterating finances by keeping you spending your tourism dollars within the US.

  44. Richard, I think the intentions are good: the State Department wants to discourage unnecessary travel during the pandemic. But overly-broad use of the Level 4 travel warning is the wrong way to go about it. It teaches people that the warnings aren’t accurate (no, Ottowa isn’t the Kabul of North America), and that leads to them being ignored even more widely than they are now.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *