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Labor Day weekend promises a surge in travel among Americans, but the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has asked people to reconsider their plans — particularly the unvaccinated.
Walensky added, "We have actually articulated that people who are fully vaccinated and who are wearing masks can travel. Although given where we are with disease transmission right now, we would say that people need to take their own — these risks into their own consideration as they think about traveling."
The CDC also updated its domestic travel recommendations on Aug. 25 advising people to "delay travel until you are fully vaccinated."
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The advisory comes as the highly contagious delta variant continues to spread among those who are unvaccinated.
With the variant driving nearly all COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and just 52% of the country fully vaccinated, cases have soared upwards to around 160,000 a day.
Hospitalizations and deaths are also up significantly, with more than 100,000 Americans in hospitals with COVID-19 and an average of nearly 1,300 people dying from the virus a day, according to The New York Times.
Travelers — both vaccinated and unvaccinated — have faced challenges to their plans as a result of rising cases.
Last week, Hawaii governor David Ige pleaded with tourists not to visit the state amid a surge in COVID-19 hospitalizations for at least the next four weeks.
"It is a risky time to be traveling right now," Ige said during a press conference. "I did ask everyone — residents and visitors alike — to reduce travel to Hawaii to essential business activities only. We do know that it is not a good time to travel to the islands."
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Several cruises have also seen outbreaks on board recently.
In late August and early July, one passenger and 26 crew members on a Carnival Vista cruise tested positive and had to be isolated. At least one death has been linked to the cruise.
Marilyn Tackett, 77, died in mid-August. Her family claimed she contracted COVID-19 on a Carnival Vista cruise leading to her death, although officials denied the claim in a statement to PEOPLE.
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The CDC later recommended travelers with an "increased risk" of COVID-19 avoid going on cruises regardless of their vaccination status.
International travel also remains up in the air as countries weigh whether American tourists can visit without posing a threat. The EU recently removed the U.S. from its "safe list" for travel.
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