CDC Quietly Drops 14 Day Quarantine Guideline For International Travelers

Early in the global pandemic the U.S. CDC recommended a 14 day quarantine for anyone traveling internationally and then coming to the United States. The novel coronavirus could be anywhere, and they wanted to contain its spread.

When it came time to assist public health departments in managing contact tracing and public health orders they would fax incomplete information, flight-by-flight, days late. And then suddenly they stopped sharing passenger information with local governments ‘to improve data quality’. When health officials complained they wouldn’t catch passengers who might be bringing in the virus, CDC told them “Just let them go.”

The U.S. still has a travel ban on non-resident passengers who have been to China in the past 14 days, though that ban failed to stop the virus from coming into the U.S. (the European ban came after the virus was already here and spreading).

It makes sense why China would be concerned about U.S. residents entering, less so why the U.S. would be concerned about people that have been to China:

Credit: Johns Hopkins University

Perhaps the U.S. retains the ban as part of an overall tit-for-tat strategy, somehow as bargaining leverage, not as a public health measure – or because ‘China bad’ but then there’s never been a ban of anyone that’s been to Iran recently, and the virus continues to rage there.

The C.D.C. though has finally recognized we’re no longer in the containment stage of the pandemic, where the virus might sneak into the country from abroad. So they’ve quietly lifted their recommendation that any travelers entering the U.S. quarantine for 14 days. After all, unless passengers are coming from Chile, Peru, Brazil, India and a few other places they’re much less likely to be carrying the virus than people who are already here.

According to the CDC’s official website, the mandatory quarantine portion of the order has been lifted, with travelers being advised to follow the same protocols people should be following on a daily basis anyway.

The CDC says that regardless of where tourists visit for the remainder of 2020, they should practice social distancing, wear a mask, wash their hands often and monitor for possible symptoms of coronavirus when they return home.

The CDC advised against the general public wearing face masks to limit the spread of COVID-19, a lie designed to buy time for the government and health care providers to stockpile limited supplies. They shipped defective tests – the only ones allowed to the used – delaying understanding of spread of the virus in the U.S. by weeks.

Once again the CDC has shown that it’s become a slow, highly bureaucratized agency, in desperate need of revitalization. Hopefully that will be a priority next year for whomever wins the White House.

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, 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 »

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  1. The “quarantine on arrival” has not been generally enforced in the US. The “enforcement” effort was so very limited — to put it kindly — that it was a joke in the main except for those who decided to the public the courtesy of self-isolating for the benefit of the public at this time.

    The CDC under Trump has become an increasingly politicized agency. Look into how the CDC was (not) dealing with NPR. 😉

  2. Finally, CDC turned to some common sense adviose. You either have to do Australia or New Zealand style lock downs and travel restrictions or do not require quarantine at all. Let’s say one travels to Turkey now, stays in a five star hotel which is almost empty nowadays, and flies back in J? Or another individual would go to a fraternity party?

  3. From the article:
    “Simply put, Fauci lied about whether masks were helpful in slowing the spread of the virus.”

    Reading this statement reminds me of a great quote.

    “The day-to-day practice of politics consists largely of pushing the envelope to see how big a lie — and how many of them — one can get away with at the moment. In what other profession is blurting out the truth considered a gaffe?” Bob Higgs

    In other words, masks are a joke.

  4. “After all, unless passengers are coming from Chile, Peru, Brazil, India and a few other places they’re much less likely to be carrying the virus than people who are already here.” – Numbers are increasing in France, Spain, Italy, Turkey, etc. Numbers are going up in many places.The number of cases in the northeast are pretty low. New York is at less than 1% positive rate for 16 days straight. This is lower than the countries I listed (and way the heck lower than the countries you listed). Significantly lower than some of them. So while some places in the US don’t have the situation under control I fail to see how your logic applies to New York were many international travelers tend to actually visit.

  5. @James N Really doesn’t seem like you even bothered to read the article if your take away is that masks are a joke.

  6. @John Smith – Love the reasoning. If you disagree with quarantines and masks then you want people to DIEEEEEEEEEEE!

  7. @Bill… No, It appears the “take away” is that you completely missed my point. I’m shocked.

  8. Gary has the balls to post the China statistical chart like it’s the actual truth and valid comparison to the US! Big balls, man. Huge. I want to work for whoever employs you during the day.

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