The US Centers for Disease Control has added several countries to its list of “very high” risk countries, advising Americans to avoid travel to the destinations over concerns that they might contract Covid-19 while abroad.
That list includes places like the UK, Ireland, Israel, Greece, the US Virgin Islands, Malta, St Barts, St Marin, Portugal, Spain, the Netherlands and Costa Rica.
While the CDC lists 74 nations as high-risk locations for American travellers, it's important to note that compared to the US, many of those countries are faring far better in their efforts to combat the virus.
Based on the CDC's own guidelines, 39 states would be included on its list of “very high” risk locations. If the CDC recommendations extended to the states, it would be advising Americans not to travel to most of the country.
The CDC's criteria for a high risk country is one that has reported more than 500 cases per 100,000 residents in the past 28 days.
According to a Forbes analysis, the US is currently recording 42.4 new Covid-19 cases per day, per 100,00 people.
The CDC does not maintain a domestic “do not travel” list, despite the fact that some states outpace or are very close to countries with the highest average infection rates on the CDC's high risk list.
French Polynesia has the highest average infection rate at 122.6 new cases per day per 100,000 people. Florida and Louisiana report average infection rates of 185.9 and 115.8 new daily cases per 100,00 people, respectively.
Because the US states are not held in comparison to individual countries, the severity of their infection rates is often overlooked. However, if Florida was its own country, it would be the most infected placed on Earth after Guadeloupe, a tiny island nation in the Caribbean.
Likewise, if Louisiana were a country, it would have the 4th highest infection rate on the planet.
Oklahoma has nearly the same average infection rate as St Martin, which was recently added to the CDC's high-risk list. Mississippi and Arkansas have higher average infection rates than Aruba, which also found itself on the list.
The US State Department, which keeps a parallel list, added Iceland to its high risk category. In that country, 90 per cent of the population has been vaccinated. In the US, only 50 per cent of the population has taken the shot.
Infection rates in France and Iceland – both on high risk lists – are lower than those in Nevada and Arizona.
The CDC recommends that Americans should not travel to places on the high-risk list, even if they are fully vaccinated. No such guidance exists for Americans travelling domestically, where they are far more likely to find themselves exposed to the virus.
Join our new commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies