This week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) started passing out at-home rapid test kits for international travelers arriving at American airports. Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport and Miami International Airport started passing out the kits on Wednesday, December 15.
In the coming weeks, the CDC will also pass out the kits at Dallas-Ft. Worth International Airport and four other unnamed airports across the USA.
At this time, the United States does not require international travelers to get a new COVID-19 test. However, they must show a negative COVID-19 test within one day of their arrival.
A week ago, the President of the U.S stated that the African travel ban on travelers from nine countries could be lifted. Unfortunately, it will continue for an as-yet undetermined amount of time, reported White House spokespersons on Friday. The omicron variant, first discovered in South Africa, dominates COVID-19 cases in those nations.
CDC officials stated that the rapid test kits allow international guests who show no symptoms of COVID-19 to quickly determine their status. Once they have a negative test result, they can continue with their itinerary.
The officials went on to state that the government continues to assess the status of the omicron variant. Scientists do not yet know if the omicron variant causes milder disease.
COVID-19 cases continue to increase throughout most of the United States. The average daily number of cases now exceeds 120,000.
The state of New York reported 21,000 COVID-19 cases on Thursday, December 16, setting a one-day reporting record. On Saturday, December 18, New York City reported more than 5,000 cases.
Epidemiologists at the CDC estimate that case counts will increase by 25% over the next two weeks. They also expect the omicron variant to attain dominance over the delta strain within four weeks.
At the current rate, omicron cases are doubling every 1.5 to 3 days in the United States.