Onetest may no longer be enough to assuage fears of the virus while . The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has updated its guidelines to recommend that Americans looking to travel abroad take a total of three COVID-19 tests before and after their flights.
The CDC has alreadyfor the Thanksgiving holiday as coronavirus cases surge around the country. But that hasn't stopped millions of people from hitting the road or boarding planes in the since the pandemic began.
Over the weekend, the CDC updated its guidance for Americans traveling out of the country, now recommending they get tested three times for each trip.
The CDC recommends the following testing schedule
- Get tested with a viral test 1-3 days before the flight.
- Get tested 3-5 days after the flight, in addition to isolating for 7 days. Travelers should stay home for the full week even after testing negative and should increase their isolation to 14 days if not getting tested.
- Get tested 1-3 days before returning.
In addition, the CDC emphasizes that allshould delay flights while awaiting test results.
The recommendation is in part due to the high risks of exposure, including taking public transportation or a ridesharing service to and from the airport, waiting in long security lines, interacting with frequently-touched surfaces, interacting with crowds and sitting within 6 feet of people for hours.
"Testing before and after travel can reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19," the guidelines state. "Testing does not eliminate all risk, but when paired with a period of staying at home and everyday precautions like wearing masks and social distancing, it can make travel safer by reducing spread on planes, in airports, and at destinations."
"A negative test does not mean that you were not exposed or that you will not develop COVID-19," the CDC said. False-negative results are possible, and tests are not good at detecting low levels of virus soon after infection. A subsequent test may come back positive just a day or two later.
Officials recommend traveling with a copy of your test results, as you will likely be asked for them. If test results are positive, all travel should be canceled. Immediately isolate instead and follow public health recommendations.
Public health officials are concerned that an uptick in holiday travel may make the pandemic dramatically worse.
"One of the things we're really concerned about is that, as we get into this Thanksgiving season, you're not going to see an increase until weeks later. Things lag. So what you don't want to see is another spike in cases as we get colder and colder into December," Dr. Anthony Fauci told "" on Sunday. "We can really be in a very difficult situation.
Still, millions of people are already Johns Hopkins University.for , and experts say it's guaranteed that the number of coronavirus cases will soon surge even higher. The number of cases in the U.S. has now surged past 12.4 million, with over 257,000 deaths, according to
Hospitals in many parts of the country warn they are alreadyto care for a rising number of severely ill patients.