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On Monday, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) added seven more countries to its list of ‘Level 4: Very High’ risk-assessed travel destinations, bringing the new total to 74 nations.
These latest inclusions on CDC’s recommended “Do Not Travel” list—which has been steadily expanding over the past few weeks as COVID-19’s Delta (B.1.617.2) variant freshly blights worldwide populations—were Aruba, Eswatini, France, French Polynesia, Iceland, Israel and Thailand.
Last week, 16 countries were elevated to the agency’s “very high” risk category, including Curacao, Greece, Ireland, Iran, Malta, Martinique, St. Barts, St. Martin and the U.S. Virgin Islands. They joined other popular tourism destinations that had previously made the list, like Costa Rica, Portugal, the Netherlands, Spain and the United Kingdom.
According to CDC parameters, countries reporting a cumulative COVID-19 incidence rate of more than 500 cases per 100,000 residents over the past 28 days are assigned its highest ‘Do Not Travel’ designation. That breaks down to an average of about 18 cases per day.
Oddly enough, given its current epidemiological conditions, the United States could also easily qualify for its own list of ‘Level 4: Very High’-risk travel destinations, as a Forbes analysis pointed out. The CDC issues travel advisories for foreign countries and U.S. territories but doesn’t conduct risk assessments in the U.S. domestically. But, should the agency’s own standards be applied to individual states, nearly four out of five would receive a ‘Do Not Travel’ rating.
The Brown School of Public Health reports that, cumulatively, the U.S. is recording about 42 new cases per 100,000 people per day, as measured on a seven-day rolling average. Yet, Americans are cautioned not to travel to the U.K., which is seeing a comparable nearly 40 new cases per 100,000 people cropping up daily.
Out of the seven cases that were yesterday added to the CDC’s ‘Do Not Travel’ list, French Polynesia is reporting the highest infection rate at an average of 122.6 new daily cases per 100,000 people. By comparison, the southern U.S. states of Florida and Louisiana are respectively reporting 185.9 and 115.8 new daily cases per 100,000 residents.
For some perspective, Forbes pointed out that, were Florida a nation unto itself, it would actually be the second-most infected country on Earth. And, if Louisiana were a country, it would claim the number-four spot for daily new COVID-19 infections in the entire world.