New CDC Guidelines and Ratings
The CDC overhauled its ratings system
for assessing Covid-19 risk for travelers in April of 2022. The new system places destinations into the following categories:
• Level 4: Hazardous zone
• Level 3: High risk for Covid-19
• Level 2: Moderate risk for Covid-19
• Level 1: Low risk for Covid-19
• Unknown: Not enough data to assess risk
Level 4, previously the highest risk category, is now reserved only for special circumstances, such as extremely high case counts, emergence of a new variant of concern or health care infrastructure collapse. Under the new system, no destinations have been placed at Level 4 so far.
Level 3, or “high,” is now the top rung in terms of risk level and applies to places that have had more than 100 cases per 100,000 residents in the past 28 days. Level 2 and Level 1 are considered “moderate” and “low” risk, respectively. There were almost 115 destinations at Level 3 on June 27. Level 3 locations account for almost half of the roughly 235 places monitored by the CDC.
Level 3: Covid-19 High Risk
The CDC advises that you get up to date with your Covid-19 vaccines before traveling to a Level 3 destination. Being “up to date
” means you have had not only the full initial vaccinations but any boosters for which you’re eligible. Much of Europe has been stubbornly lodged at Level 3 for months with the summer travel season in full swing. All islands in the Caribbean region are also at level 3 as of June 27.
Level 2: COVID-19 Moderate Risk
Destinations carrying the “Level 2: Covid-19 Moderate” designation reported 50 to 100 Covid-19 cases per 100,000 residents in the past 28 days.
Level 1: COVID-19 Low Risk
In its broader travel guidance
, the CDC has recommended avoiding all international travel until you are fully vaccinated.