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.