Last March, I wrote Describe Trump’s Travel Ban: It’s Stupid. Today I use the word stupid again to describe the US’s requirement that travelers returning from abroad need to present a negative COVID test taken no more than 72 hours from the date of travel. Next week, I am going to Colombia (see Don’t Route Via Panama), the next step in my IQKhameleon odyssey. Colombia, like North Korea, is on the Level 4, Do Not Travel List (see North Korea – Level 4: Do Not Travel). This means that COVID is hanging out on every street corner, every bar, and every crevice. If by some chance, I can’t outrun its menacing ways like Barry Sanders (see Barry Sanders Reveals Breakthrough Case), I won’t be able to return to the US until I produce a negative test. Here’s why that is stupid:
- Like a termite infestation, the virus is already all over the US. Even if I’m contagious, I’m not bringing back something that isn’t already here.
- Testing is inaccurate. Someone who takes an antigen test is less likely to produce a positive result than taking a PCR test. Travelers looking to minimize the chance of being stuck will opt for this test, partially defeating the point of being tested.
- Being vigilant is a myth. I am not going to lie. If an indoor bar is open, I’m going in for a drink. Second, even if I were on my best behavior and did nothing but double mask and keep my distance, it is a myth to believe that this will absolutely ward off infection. If it’s in the air, it’s in the air. There’s still a chance of a breakthrough case (see Breakthrough Infections: Another Reason Not to Travel).
- I can still drink and eat on a plane! How is taking my mask off on a plane safe? Maybe I will be negative 72 hours before but what are the chances of infection from flying? I’m not buying that the air in a plane is COVID free.
- COVID isn’t going anywhere: The point of the vaccine is to stop people from dying. It is not going to stop people from getting infected. It is the unvaccinated that should be making the adjustments in their lives. They are the ones that should not be allowed to fly because they are the ones who are holding the rest of us hostage by rules that try to accommodate their ignorance.
I want to get back to normal. Normal means that I may get infected. I might get sick. That’s a risk I am willing to take.