The CDC has added Canada to its list of “Level 4: Very High” risk countries for COVID, advising Americans to avoid travel north of the border.
As Omicron continues its sweep, that list of countries for Americans to avoid is getting longer. The U.K., France, Italy and about 80 other countries worldwide are now on the CDC’s ‘avoid travel’ list as well.
Canada’s re-classification from Level 3/ ‘reconsider travel’ to Level 4/ ‘avoid travel’ comes with a recommendation that any American travelling to Canada should ensure they are fully vaccinated.
The CDC’s move to list Canada as too risky for Americans may seem at odds with the U.S.’ own COVID status.
Reports comparing hospitalizations due to COVID show that, while Canada has set a new record for hospitalizations - with a weekly average of over 5200 - the U.S. also reached all-time highs - over 132,000. On a per-capita basis, the U.S. has nearly three times as many hospitalizations due to COVID than Canada.
Maybe the biggest takeaway from the news of the CDC’s classification of Canada as a Level 4/ avoid travel destination is how it highlights the difference in approach to travel advisories between the two countries.
CDC advisories evaluate apparent risk on a country-by-country basis based on case data. As the numbers change, that risk is re-evaluated constantly. While elevating the risk warning of travel to Canada Monday, the CDC also downgraded the risk of travel to a number of other countries.
Canada’s approach is a different, blanket approach. Last month, Ottawa reinstated its advice to Canadians to avoid all non-essential travel, regardless of destination, which effectively advised Canadians to avoid U.S. travel.