President Joe Biden’s medical adviser said a domestic travel vaccination rule should be considered as the omicron variant fuels record Covid-19 case loads in some states and holiday travel continues to be disrupted around the U.S.
Anthony Fauci said on MSNBC on Monday that it would be “reasonable to consider” a requirement to be vaccinated for coronavirus before getting on a domestic flight. Later, in an interview on CNN, he said people should consider avoiding larger New Year’s Eve parties.
“When you make vaccination a requirement, that’s another incentive to get more people vaccinated,” Fauci said. “If you want to do that with domestic flights, I think that’s something that seriously should be considered.”
Biden said on Monday that governors had asked Fauci about new requirements for air travel during a weekly conference call. The lobbying group for major U.S. air carriers, Airlines for America, said the administration had indicated that such a mandate wasn’t coming in the near term.
“We have been informed by the administration that there is no imminent policy proposal regarding a domestic travel requirement and echo concerns expressed by the administration about the implementation and enforcement of such a policy,” the group said in a statement.
Fauci also reiterated that officials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are seriously discussing whether its feasible to shorten isolation and quarantine time for essential workers.
More from TIME
A surge in cases prompted U.S. airlines to scrap about 2,800 flights over the holiday weekend because of personnel shortages, and has disrupted plans for some of the traditional year-end college football games.
U.S. travel stocks retreated on Monday despite gains in the wider market, with United Airlines Holdings Inc. down 0.9% at 12:57 p.m. in New York. Delta Air Lines Inc. lost 0.8% and American Airlines Group Inc. fell 0.6%. Among cruise-ship operators, Carnival Corp. declined 1.5%, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. retreated 2.1% and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. fell 2.9%.
While some studies have suggested the omicron variant is less severe, particularly for vaccinated people, rising case loads have prompted concerns hospitals could still be overwhelmed with patients, a situation now being seen in pockets of the U.S.
Biden is expected to discuss the situation in U.S. states on Monday with the National Governors Association. His remarks follow a spike in Covid-19 infections to record levels in several states, including New York, which reported 49,708 new cases on Dec. 24.
–With assistance from Mary Schlangenstein and Justin Sink.
- Exclusive: The Making of the U.S. Military's New Stealth Bomber
- Your Next House Could Be Made on an Assembly Line
- The Legal Implications of the Debate Over Whether 'Extreme Racism' Is a Mental Illness
- Why European Countries Are Giving Teens Free Money To Spend on Books, Music, and Theater
- Republican Skepticism of Trump Has Never Been Higher
- Column: The U.S. Prison System Doesn't Value True Justice
- How Green Is the Qatar World Cup’s Outdoor AC?
- 16 Funny and Whimsical White Elephant Gifts Under $25
- The 5 Best New TV Shows Our Critic Watched in November 2022