If you’ve had a COVID-19 vaccine shot and were dreaming about beaches in Mexico or Brazil, you might want to fantasize about Florida and Hawaii instead. In response to the current state of the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. State Department is now advising that U.S citizens reconsider all travel abroad. This comes a few weeks after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said that fully vaccinated people could travel safely within the United States without needing to testing or quarantine (unless states strictly enforced it).
On April 26, the State Department said it would boost the number of countries receiving its highest advisory rating (Level 4: Do Not Travel list) to about 80 percent of countries worldwide (that’s 150 destinations). This is a sharp increase from the initial 16 percent (34 countries) placed on the Level 4 list. To be clear, the State Department says this isn’t a reassessment of the current world health situation, but rather it’s meant to better conform to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) own travel advisories.
Then on April 27,
The State Department advisory does, however, reflect a growing vaccine disparity between the United States and the world. Currently, more than half of adult Americans have one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. As of today, about a third of Americans are fully vaccinated. At the current rate of more than 3 million doses a day, 90 percent of Americans, 16 years and older, will be vaccinated by early August. This is one of the highest vaccination rates in the world.
Worldwide, the number of people who have their first vaccine dose is less than 7 percent. Worse, due to new COVID-9 variants and inconsistent public health approaches, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported 5.2 million new cases last week, the most in a single week since the beginning of the pandemic.
“Globally, the number of new cases per week has nearly doubled over the past two months,” WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at a press conference last week. “This is approaching the highest rate of infection that we have seen so far during the pandemic.”
More than 3 million people have died from COVID-19 worldwide, including more than 568,000 in the United States.