The CDC Says This One Drastic Measure May Not Help Control COVID-19

The director of the CDC says there is no evidence that quarantining out-of-state travelers will help.

Many states have recently enacted desperate measures in effort to contain the sudden surge of coronavirus cases afflicting a huge portion of the country. While some states have issued face masks mandates and other have paused reopenings to try to mitigate their sudden COVID-19 spikes, New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut took things a step further. This week, the Tri-State region issued a mandatory 14-day quarantine for any visitors from states where cases are surging, like Texas and Florida. However, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is saying that imposing an out-of-state quarantine may not actually help control the spread of COVID-19.

"We don't have any evidence-based data to support the public health value of that decision," CDC director Robert Redfield said in a news briefing on June 25. However, despite no clear evidence that these quarantines help, Redfield said that it is very much an "independent decision that independent governors" are free to make.

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New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the 14-day quarantine on June 24, and it went into effect on June 25 in his state as well as New Jersey and Connecticut. Currently, the three states are imposing quarantines on travelers from states with "a positive test rate higher than 10 per 100,000 residents, or higher than a 10 percent test positivity rate, over a seven day rolling average." Right now, that includes Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas, and Utah.

"In New York, we went from the highest number of cases to some of the lowest rates in the country—no one else had to bend the curve as much as we did and now we have to make sure that the rate continues to drop in our entire region," Cuomo said during his announcement. "A lot of people come into this region and they could literally bring the infection with them. It wouldn't be malicious or malevolent, but it would still be real."

Cuomo says anyone who violates the quarantine in New York will be faced with thousand-dollar fines. New Jersey and Connecticut, on the other hand, have no current enforcement mechanisms for the mandate, according to The New York Times.

Ironically, states like Florida placed a similar quarantine on travelers from New York during the beginning of the pandemic at the end of March, when the New York metropolitan area was the epicenter of the virus. Now, the tables certainly have turned. And for more recent news from the CDC, check out If You Have This One Condition, the CDC Says You're Now High Risk for COVID.

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