New CDC guidelines a blow for ailing airline industry

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) this week delivered a tough blow to the airline industry, which is struggling to recover from the coronavirus pandemic.

While the CDC issued a number of recommendations that allow vaccinated and low-risk people more freedom to gather, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said Monday that the agency’s advice on travel remains the same for both vaccinated and unvaccinated Americans: Don’t do it.

But some experts called that guidance confusing and the airline industry, while saying it would continue to work with the CDC, stressed its efforts to prevent coronavirus transmission aboard aircraft and its confidence that its approach is safe.

Leana Wen, a public health professor at George Washington University and former Baltimore health commissioner, called the guidance on Monday “far too cautious.”

“A lot of families are separated from one another and need to travel to see one another. I’m really befuddled by why the guidance around travel was not changed. Travel is very low risk — imagine if you’re traveling in your individual car or even by plane — whenever everyone is wearing masks, the risk of coronavirus is very low,” she said.