CDC Says to Avoid Non-Essential Travel Even If You’re Vaccinated

Vaccination numbers are rising—but so are the number of COVID-19 cases

Woman in an airport lounge in a medical mask. Traveling during the coronavirus pandemic
Anton Petrus / Getty Images

Even though roughly one in five U.S. adults have now been vaccinated, experts are warning against non-essential travel—in fact, they are pleading for you not to do it, even if you’re fully vaccinated. 

During today’s White House COVID-19 briefing, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky went off-script to share her concerns over “continuing concerning trends in the data” of rising COVID-19 case numbers in the United States. 

According to the latest CDC data, the U.S. has surpassed a total of 30 million cases. Recently, case numbers have reached between 60,000 to 70,000 new cases a day—a 10 percent bump over the previous seven-day period— and hospitalizations and deaths have also gone up. Walensky admitted to a “feeling of impending doom” over the rise in cases. 

“When we see that uptick in cases, what we have seen before is that things really have the tendency to surge, and surge big," said Walensky. This is exactly what has happened recently in European countries such as Germany, France, and Italy, where rising numbers have turned into a continued concerning spike. 

In order for the U.S. to escape the same pattern, Walensky urged all Americans not to rest on their laurels at this crucial time, and to avoid all non-essential travel. Again, the recommendation applies to everyone, even if you’ve already gotten all your shots. 

“I think people have taken advantage of what they perceived as a relative paucity of cases, a relative lull in where we were, to take advantage of their time of spring break, of holiday travel,” Walensky said during a Q&A portion of the briefing, also citing that we’re seeing more travel now than any other time during the pandemic, including Christmas and New Year’s. (It’s true: Data from the Transportation Security Administration show they’ve screened between 1 million to more than 1.5 million passengers every day since March 11, 2021.)

The director also added that with an uptick in travel, we’ve also seen an uptick in cases, and reiterated that everyone should “limit travel to essential travel for the time being.” 

“We do not have the luxury of inaction,” she said. “For the health of our country, we must work together now to prevent a fourth surge.”