It took until late December 2020 for the first Covid-19 case to be identified on Antarctica when 36 people contracted the virus at Chile’s Base General Bernardo O’Higgins Riquelme. In total about 60 cases have been reported cumulatively out of a population of less than 5000. Still, that’s just over 1% of the population, compared to nearly 10% of the U.S. population that has tested positive for Covid-19.
The warning says you should exercise caution because of “environmental hazards posed by extreme and unpredictable weather.” However that was the case before this change in warning status. The State Department now advises against travel to 80% of the world, and they say that’s part of aligning their warnings with those of the CDC during the pandemic, but both acknowledge they do not even know the level of Covid-19 in the area.
— Ryan Ewing (@FlyingHighRyan) April 21, 2021
This underscores how utterly useless public health officials have made their pronouncements which is sad, since a pandemic is when we need good advice the most. And they’ve upgraded these warning levels even as the CDC recognizes the reduce risk of travel for those who have been vaccinated and when over half the adult population in the United States has received at least one shot of vaccine.
Now, if the advice is ‘don’t take a cruise if you aren’t vaccinated’ that’s one thing and more than reasonable. But listing a highest-level travel warning for Antarctica as though it were Wuhan last January or downtown Kabul just seems silly, when the CDC says it doesn’t even have information that might justify such a move, doesn’t it?