US drops Covid testing requirement – reports — Analysis

As of Sunday, no one – vaccinated or unvaccinated – will have to show a negative test to enter the US by air

Multiple American news sources report that on Friday, the White House will declare that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will no longer require that passengers traveling to the US be negative for Covid-19. The Biden administration has said that the tests will no longer be required, despite the fact that the industry lobbying hard for this decision. “based on the science.”

Since early 2021, passengers flying to the US must have a positive coronavirus test. Non-citizens are required to present proof of vaccination since October last year.

Although the testing requirements will be removed from Sunday, it remains unclear if non-citizens will still have to comply with the vaccination requirement. CNN quotes a CDC official saying the agency will reevaluate the decision in the next 90 days. It will also reserve the right not to reinstate mandate if a threat variant of the coronavirus appears.

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Airlines for America’s chief Nick Calio stated last month that they would drop the requirement after months of lobbying by the industry. “Quite frankly, the only impact the pre-departure testing requirement is having is a chilling effect on an already fragile economy here in the US.” 

According to figures from Airlines for America, international passenger numbers remain mired at 12% below pre-pandemic levels, while 21 of the US’ 30 largest airports are expected to see fewer passengers this summer than in 2019.

Although Calio’s organization met with White House officials late last month, the Biden administration insists that industry lobbying did not influence its decision to lift the testing requirement. CNN heard from an official who said that the administration was responding to “the science and data.”

Data from the World Health Organization shows that the US has about half the amount of Covid-19-related cases as it did last January when the new requirement went into effect. However, neither the requirement nor the Biden administration’s push for mass vaccination seemingly had any effect on transmission rates, which surged to a record high of 5.6 million cases per week in early January of this year. 

Despite the fact that Covid-19 has been linked to more deaths than usual during the winter months, there are currently around 1,700 US deaths each week. This is a decrease of 23,000 deaths when this requirement was first introduced.

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