The President of the United States is said to be considering travel restrictions between California, Washington, and the rest of the country. I’ve heard rumors of this, and it is certainly not confirmed and not at this point certain to happen.
Donald Trump is considering extending travel restrictions to domestic travel between California and Washington. There is no confirmation and no details from the president on this yet.
Meanwhile it appears that travel restrictions haven’t been effective in stopping the spread of this virus. (HT: Marginal Revolution) They’ve been a ‘barn door already shut’ policy.
The travel quarantine of Wuhan delayed the overall epidemic progression by only 3 to 5 days in Mainland China, but has a more marked effect at the international scale, where case importations were reduced by nearly 80% until mid February. Modeling results also indicate that sustained 90% travel restrictions to and from Mainland China only modestly affect the epidemic trajectory unless combined with a 50% or higher reduction of transmission in the community.
In other words, since the virus is already out beyond the areas where travel is limited, restrictions won’t stop the virus. Slowing the virus matters so that health care resources aren’t overwhelmed with older patients in respiratory distress (the way that hospitals in Wuhan and Italy have been). What matters though is rapid testing and social distancing and the U.S. is still failing at testing.