Dr. Fauci: CDC's Travel Restrictions for Vaccinated People Were Just a 'Judgment Call'


I understand that the “judgment call” of Dr. Anthony Fauci is more scientific than, say, my judgment call.

It’s still not following the science, though. And that’s what we’re supposed to be doing, right?

In fact, that’s become a kind of mantra: “Follow the science.” It’s like following the money or following the bouncing ball. You follow the science on anything remotely scientific and all will turn out superbly.

Yet, when Fauci said that his guidance on whether people who have received both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine could travel was based on a “judgment call,” that was perfectly fine.

“When you don’t have the data, and you don’t have the actual evidence, then you’ve got to make a judgment call,” Fauci told CNN about the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidance that fully vaccinated people shouldn’t travel.

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Fauci wasn’t the only one expressing this opinion, either.

Should vaccinated Americans be able to travel abroad?

“We are really trying to restrain travel at this current period of time, and we’re hopeful that our next set of guidance will have more science around what vaccinated people can do, perhaps travel being among them,” CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said during a news conference Monday.

However, the move is a huge blow to the U.S. airline industry, which was hoping vaccinated Americans — especially seniors — would be able to travel.

“We remain confident that this layered approach significantly reduces risk and are encouraged that science continues to confirm there is a very low risk of virus transmission onboard aircraft,” a representative of Airlines of America told the Washington Examiner.

“We continue to work with the CDC and other appropriate authorities to ensure the implementation of travel policies and measures that prioritize the safety and wellbeing of all passengers and employees.”

The U.S. Travel Association, which also said the CDC needed to relax travel restrictions, said, “We feel it is critical for U.S. public health officials to set goals for relaxing the official guidance around travel.

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“The year-long pause of travel has kept people apart and caused serious damage to the economy and jobs, and with vaccines progressing and encouraging case trends in many areas, it should be possible to consider a time frame for a broader reopening of travel.”

But, remember — this is was all just a judgment call!

Fauci did say that the “CDC is carefully heading” toward allowing vaccinated individuals to travel but that it will be a “multistep process.”

The CDC, meanwhile, says it doesn’t have the data it needs to tell whether vaccinated individuals can pass on the disease.

“In terms of travel, here’s what we know: Every time that there’s a surge in travel, we have a surge in cases in this country. We know that many of our variants have emerged from international places, and we know that the travel corridor is a place where people are mixing a lot,” Walensky said.

So while they wait for “more science,” they’re just going to make judgment calls about this.

We’re more than a year into this and, in short, we have the guy who’s supposed to be following the science making judgment calls.

There are serious structural issues with how we’re addressing opening up our economy in the aftermath of vaccination, particularly in the slowness.

It shouldn’t have been closed off to the extent that it was before vaccination, and it shouldn’t be closed off now.

Fauci shouldn’t be walling Americans off from travel because of his guesstimates about the virus.

This has long been beyond ridiculous. It remains such — and it’s time Americans started holding unappointed officials to account for decisions like this.

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C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014.
C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014. Aside from politics, he enjoys spending time with his wife, literature (especially British comic novels and modern Japanese lit), indie rock, coffee, Formula One and football (of both American and world varieties).
Morristown, New Jersey
Catholic University of America
Languages Spoken
English, Spanish
Topics of Expertise
American Politics, World Politics, Culture