One of the ways you can tell that people are ready to travel again, after a year of being cooped up at home because of the coronavirus pandemic, is by letting their online activity tell you so.
Over the past 24 years, as you can see in the tweet below, Google says there have been massive spikes in Google Searches for phrases like “fully vaccinated travel” and “CDC guidelines for travel.” This comes after the recently released CDC COVID guidelines presented an updated look at what activities people who’ve been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus (as well as those still waiting their turn for a vaccine) can safely do now. For example, the CDC says people who’ve been vaccinated against the coronavirus now no longer need to quarantine when they’ve had a presumed exposure to the virus, as long as they remain asymptomatic. However, there’s one activity the CDC is still not ready to bless yet, even though so many of you are doing it anyway: Travel.
During the White House COVID-19 Response Team Briefing on Monday, CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said: “At this time, the CDC is not adjusting current guidance on travel. We believe these new recommendations are an important first step in our efforts to resume everyday activities in our communities. However, we remain in the midst of a serious pandemic and still over 90% of our population is not fully vaccinated. But we are working hard to get there.”
To her point, Bloomberg’s vaccine tracker shows that 111 million coronavirus vaccine doses have been administered in the US since vaccinations began in December.
— GoogleTrends (@GoogleTrends) March 9, 2021
Public health officials are starting to get worried by people letting their guard down and getting back to normal at a faster pace than people are getting vaccinated, and here’s another example of why that’s the case:
The TSA has been screening record numbers of travelers again — more than 1.35 million people on Friday, followed by another 1.34 million people on Sunday, the agency said. According to Reuters, airline passenger traffic is still way down from where things stood at this point in 2020, but this is still a significant number of people traveling and potentially carrying the coronavirus with them around the country.
“Every time that there’s a surge in travel, we have a surge in cases in this country,” Walensky said during the briefing. “We know that many of our variants have emerged from international places. And we know that the travel corridor is a place where people are mixing a lot. We are really trying to restrain travel at this current period of time. And we’re hopeful that our next set of guidance will have more science around what vaccinated people can do, perhaps travel being among them.”
Nevertheless, travel continues to pick up closer to home, with Disney World reporting that it’s been selling out of Spring Break reservations.