14-Day Travel Quarantine Coming To NY, NJ, And CT

Filed Under: Travel

Not only will Americans likely be banned from visiting most of Europe for quite a while, but we’re going to increasingly see domestic travel restrictions as well, as some states see a surge in coronavirus cases.

Tri-state 14-day quarantine requirement

Today it has been announced that travelers arriving in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut, from regions with high COVID-19 infection rates, will be subjected to a 14-day quarantine.

We knew that this was being considered, though this is just now officially being confirmed.

Several weeks ago New York had among the highest cases of coronavirus, with some days having more than 10,000 new cases. At this point New York is consistently down to fewer than 1,000 cases per day, while states like Florida are seeing more cases than ever before.

As Governor Cuomo explained this move:

“We worked very hard to get the viral transmission rate down. We don’t want to see it go up because a lot of people come into this region and they can literally bring the infection with them.”

The reason all three states are introducing this policy at the same time is because “what happens in New York happens in New Jersey and happens in Connecticut.”

While many may wonder about the implications of this on the economy, this all comes on the heels of a major economic study that determined that state reopenings have done little to boost the economy. Rather that the bigger issue is that more needs to be done to restore safety and consumer confidence, in order for people to spend more.

Which states will be subject to the quarantine requirement?

The 14-day quarantine requirement will be based on the number of new cases per 100,000 residents in states over the past seven days. This will be adjusted constantly, but for now visitors from the following states will be subjected to the quarantine requirement:

  • Alabama
  • Arkansas
  • Arizona
  • Florida
  • North Carolina
  • South Carolina
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • Washington

Not that I’m expecting many people to be traveling to these states for fun right now, but the constant updates of states sure makes it impossible to plan future travel there, since you don’t know if you’ll be subjected to a 14-day quarantine or not.

How will enforcement work?

It also remains to be seen how enforcement of this 14-day quarantine will work. While everyone will hopefully observe this requirement, up until this point we’ve seen states take very different approaches when it comes to quarantine enforcement.

For example, Hawaii has been the most consistent state when it comes to travel restrictions, as the state has required a 14-day quarantine for several months now. What has set Hawaii apart is that violating the quarantine has been subjected to a $5,000 fine or one year in prison, which has caused people to mostly actually follow the requirement.

Given the lack of responsibility some people show, I think it’s safe to say that many people may not obey the quarantine requirement unless the punishments are strict.

Bottom line

New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut are now requiring a 14-day quarantine for visitors from states with high COVID-19 infection rates. I certainly can’t blame them…

What do you make of this new tri-state 14-day quarantine?

Comments
  1. So the states that had the highest rates early on and now most of their population are immune are afraid? That seems backward.

  2. Limited practical effect. I doubt that anyone from any other state is in a hurry to visit NY or NJ.

  3. So all those folks from NY/NJ/CT who contaminated people in FL by escaping those early hotspot states are now going to have to self-isolate. Sounds fair to me…

  4. @scruce goods

    Immunity is not guaranteed from infection. Immunity from infection is under ongoing research. A new paper has recently come out that suggests that immunity may fade after a few months (which makes sense given the behaviour of how other coronaviruses behave).

    Not only that, “most of their population[s]” weren’t infected despite having such high rates of infections than other places. For example, NYC has reported just over 200,000 cases. The population of just NYC is nearly 9 million people. That’s 2% of the population of NYC. There have been ~388,000 in the entire state. This doesn’t even come close to “most of the population” for NYC. Not even if a severe underestimation had occurred.

  5. This will give the EU even more motivation to carry out with their plan. To all of you freedom loving maskless warriors…I hope you enjoy your “new” freedom of being shunned and kept at bay in the confinement of your state’s complete disregard of science.

  6. Nobody in the US is “banned” from those states. If you are coming from states with a high number of COVID cases based on a weekly calculation then you have a mandatory 2 week self quarantine. That is not a ban. Its a quarantine requirement. In terms lack of compliance people can expect to be hit with significant fines and to be forced into mandatory quarantine at their own expense. Seriously any idiot going to a state that has quarantine requirements from a state with a COVID problem deserves no sympathy if they violate the quarantine.

  7. @Spruce Goods – What evidence do you have that “states that had the highest rates early on and now most of their population are immune (are afraid)?”

  8. It’s a no-brainer how Hawaii can enforce their quarantine rule. How will this work in New York if you cross the border in a car? Are they closing the interstates? In any event, I can’t imagine Americans are much interested in visiting a mostly closed down NYC any time soon. No big loss.

  9. NY/NJ/Northeast USA actually did a decent job as far as “flattening the curve.”

    FL/TX/CA is an international embarrassment.

    I wonder if EU/rest of the world can somehow make a concession on a state-by-state basis? Seems almost unfair that Hawaiians/NYers have to suffer the same ban/restriction because Karen in South Beach doesn’t want to wear a mask…

  10. Another “amazing” idea of “smart” politicians that makes no sense. Yes, Hawaii can control their inflow since they are an island and the only way you can get there is by plane. How will they control people traveling by car, bus, train or even plane if it is not a direct flight from one of the listed states? Lipstick on a pig!!!!! BTW, these states infected most of the other states and are now trying to blame others. I know people in my state that brought Covid from NY since they were attending College there.

  11. NJ has opened horse racing and car racing, and they are going to open AC casinos on July 4th.
    Philly is going to open on July 3rd in order to get tourism around Independence Hall.
    NYC basically unofficially opened since NYPD don’t care about these violations anymore.

    These governors only care about holiday money, not resident’s health.
    Wait to see, after July 4th, positive numbers must increase A LOT.

  12. “NY/NJ/Northeast USA actually did a decent job as far as “flattening the curve.”

    FL/TX/CA is an international embarrassment.”

    HUH?!

  13. ” For example, NYC has reported just over 200,000 cases. The population of just NYC is nearly 9 million people. That’s 2% of the population of NYC.”

    Reported cases, yeah. We all know that this number is just as good as the testing strategy applied. Wasn’t there a study based on antibody testing claiming that over 20% of NYC residents have been infected?

  14. So the states that had the highest rates early on and now most of their population are immune are afraid? That seems backward.
    – Spruce Goods

    I live in NYC, I’ve never had the virus, and I’d like to keep it that way. I get the PCR swab and antibody assay tests every two weeks. I wear a mask every time I go in public, as does literally everyone here. I went to the pharmacy yesterday and I didn’t see a single person without a mask. If you want to be stupid, keep it in your state.

    Limited practical effect. I doubt that anyone from any other state is in a hurry to visit NY or NJ.
    – JetAway

    My girlfriend is visiting from Missouri next week for the Fourth of July holiday, actually.

  15. @ Stuart, I live in Manhattan and was lectured earlier this week by someone behind me at the bank. All I did was ask him if he had a mask he could put on and he looked at me like I was from Mars. He also didn’t bother to social distance even though there were huge yellow icons on the floor. I recon we are screwed for some time to come. Also, there is noway to enforce a 14 day quarantine in NY and with the fine being so low, well good luck to us.

    I grew up in Toronto and my friends were telling me there is an inspection unit that follows up to see if you are abiding by quarantining after arrival in Toronto by air (the land border is closed, but you can still fly to Canada) if they show up and you aren’t at the address you gave customs/immigration on arrival, then you are subject to up to six months in jail and up to a 750K fine. They aren’t messing around.

  16. Long time lurker and lifetime traveler. I’ve enjoyed this site for several years, and almost unfailingly, Ben and his team have done a wonderful job in putting together an informative, enriching, and fun place. This is a place where those of us who want to travel and maximize our experiences while doing so can gather and exchange information, while Ben is able to pursue his passion. Unfortunately, in the last four months, the open cesspool of domestic US politics has bubbled over into the comments – and frankly, I’ve looked to travel and specifically this site to get away from that sewage. Surely, life lately is different and there is much frustration. However, name-calling and regionalism does little to support the vision of this site and gives me little incentive to return. For now, I’ll be going elsewhere to get my travel information, offers, and advice. Sorry Ben – maybe I’ll be back in a few months.

  17. Huh… pretty sure WA has lower rate than the tri-state area. Not that I was planning on visiting there at any rate?

    I actually wish WA would do this since we have so many flights per day to AZ.

  18. “NY/NJ/Northeast USA actually did a decent job as far as “flattening the curve.
    FL/TX/CA is an international embarrassment.”

    You can’t be serious.

    NY: 1610 COVID deaths per 1M pop.
    NY: 1473 COVID deaths per 1M pop.
    CT: 1200 COVID deaths per 1M pop.
    These states flattened the curve by sending patients with COVID to nursing homes.

    On the other hand,
    FL: 153 COVID deaths per 1M pop.
    TX: 78 COVID deaths per 1M pop.
    CA: 143 COVID deaths per 1M pop.

  19. “While everyone will hopefully observe this requirement…”

    How likely do think that is?

    This is America, where spoiled, entitled idiots don’t think any rules apply to them.

    If you expect any degree of compliance, you need to back it up with real, toothy enforcement and harsh consequences. Otherwise, it’s just a polite request that will be ignored. I thin you’ve seen this personally a lot lately, no?

  20. We will be traveling from IN to CT next month. So far rates in IN are steady. I think CT/NY/NJ are doing the right thing.

  21. @grrizzly

    You are referring to total numbers, where yes, NY for example got hit much harder. But now, in the past week, they are getting around 600-800 cases a day, down from 10k/day during peak. FL is now getting 3800-4000 cases a day. Did you finish high school? Or do I have to explain further what “flattening the curve” means?

  22. @Spruce Goods – What in the world are you talking about? Very few of us are immune in NY, partially because we took such stringent measures to flatten the curve and avoid infection. The antibody positive rate is very low (and thats not even considering the risk of false positives). So yes, we would like to keep that infection rate low, and not have to share the consequences of states that decided to reopen too early.

  23. @Jan – “I wonder if EU/rest of the world can somehow make a concession on a state-by-state basis?”

    No way Trump would allow that. Actually, there’s no way ANY President (of either party) could allow that. No way the US could ever sanction allowing other countries to treat Americans differently based on which state they come from. Even a lot of people who oppose Trump would have problems with that.

  24. @Rob – the issue in WA state is a recent huge spike in Yakima county, and lesser spikes in a few other nearby, rural eastern and central WA counties. This is likely driven by agricultural workers to a great extent – picking fruit right now and working in meat packing facilities. The virus spread there and hospitalizations are blowing up.

    Most of the rest of the state (western WA, the rainy, green, populated parts – what most non-residents think of when they think of the state) is doing OK.

    Just yesterday the governor mandated mask wearing whenever in public, statewide. This is now a legal requirement, previously was just a request. Maybe that will help somewhat, but I worry it will not have any enforcement behind it, and it will be ignored in the Trumpy parts of the state.

  25. @Colin

    It sounds like @Jan believes that letting as many people die in nursing homes as possible is flattening the curve.

  26. @Alliw — The relevant metric is new cases per 100k residents. CA might have a high number of new cases, but its population is so large that the number of new cases per 100k is actually not that high. Its % of positive tests is also nowhere near as high as states like AZ, TX, and FL. (https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/testing/tracker/overview) Of course, things are changing daily…which leads me to wonder how NY, NJ, and CT will actually enforce this quarantine. How will they figure out where visitors have been and keep in contact with them? What if a state wasn’t on the list when someone enters the tri-state area but is added to the list, say, 3 days later? It seems like to me that NY, NJ, and CT are hoping that the rule will discourage non-essential travel to the region altogether, as opposed to them actually having to enforce the rule.

  27. @grrizzly – Nice straw man. The topic at had is other places (whether the EU, or NY) trying to quarantine visitors from other places (USA, or other states) that has a huge spike in cases. and the states I mentioned, FL/TX/CA, is getting spikes in cases.

  28. @Jan – What are you talking about? You are the one who claimed that NY/NJ did a good job at flattening the curve. That’s laughable, and proof you haven’t a clue what flattening the curve means. Even the numbers you provide are proof they did an absolutely abysmal job.

  29. Also, keep in mind that if you fly into one of these states, or if you cross a bridge/tunnel with a toll, a record of your entrance will exist. As such, proving violations will not be difficult.

  30. So, how this will work for connecting passengers? Let’s say you travel from IAH to EWR to continue on to Europe?

  31. Earlier on when RI put a quarantine requirement on people coming from CT/NJ/NY, at the state borders and at PVD, National Guard were deployed to find out where they were staying and following up to ensure it was being followed. Also in Newport, the police were patrolling and knocking on peoples homes if there was an out of state license plate. RI did end up with very high case /1M and deaths /1M, as it is the second highest densely populated state. We also have the highest test rate /1M. The last 14 days the number of new cases has been double digits. Today Gov. Gina will likely put new restrictions on beach going because this past weekend people were not following mask and social distancing protocols.

  32. The DOJ just called this unconstitutional in Hawaii (restricts interstate travel and commerce). Sounds like NY needs to waste more taxpayer money fighting something that they have no chance of winning – and of course they will ask the Federal government to reimburse them with bailouts.

  33. @Jan

    Deaths/1 million pop (daily avg., week ending 6/23) & rank among US states:

    #2 New Jersey 3.7/m
    #6 Connecticut 2.7/m
    #7 New York 2.4/m

    Those 3 states are still near the top of the daily deaths per capita.

    That’s last week. Not overall. Check your data before pontificating.

    Data: http://91-divoc.com/pages/covid-visualization/?chart=states-normalized&highlight=New%20York&show=10&y=both&scale=log&data=deaths-daily-7&data-source=jhu&xaxis=right-4wk#states-normalized

  34. Why wouldn’t anyone be interested in visiting for fun right now? The Finger Lakes, Thousand Islands/St. Lawrence, Lake Ontario, and Adirondacks are absolutely wonderful this time of year, and summer means it is peak outdoor vacation season. New York is a big, beautiful place.

  35. Gov. Andrew Cuomo is being treated like some COVID-19 God, but look at the figures. NY, CT, MA and NJ are a mess, and just now re-opening which means an uptick is coming. AZ, CA, TX, FL still don’t have the numbers or the death rate of east coast. Reguardless, people need to stop listen to Tronald Dump (Dump Trump 2020) and start wearing masks, limiting travel and exposure until treatments and a vaccine are available. I say this as an AZ Republican who is tired of the stupidity, especially among young people. Let’s be smart, call out people who aren’t taking are of themselves or you. GET YOUR MASK ON!

  36. Perhaps, the truck drivers should simply stop from taking any goods into those states to avoid 14 day quarantine. This should also keep New Yorkers from coming to the beaches in North and South Carolina and Florida.

  37. @ Spruced Goods:

    “So the states that had the highest rates early on and now most of their population are immune are afraid? That seems backward.”

    Please provide evidence that “most of their population is immune.” Or do you just make this stuff up and hope not to be called on it?

  38. The DOJ has been saying a lot of legally dubious things lately. Generally speaking, states are given quite a bit of leeway when emergency events like a pandemic are involved.

    Christ. Is anybody else tired of this incompetence?

  39. Washington State is not spiking. As others have noted, numbers are mostly up a bit because of an outbreak in one small rural city. Interestingly though, we test pretty well and the testing shows that our statewide COVID-19 numbers never really went down below approx 250 new cases a day for a prolonged period. They did dip below but then went back up. This despite most parts of WA being very mask friendly and the state being quite conservative with its phased reopening. So even in a state with a delayed and tight reopening, the virus didn’t ‘go away’. A cautionary tale I think.

  40. Not sure why all these snowflakes get so offended when “their” region gets attacked.
    No one is banning interstate travel.
    If you go from a hotspot to non-hotspot, you are advised to quarantine.
    No one is jailing you.

    Using the per capita death stats to assess current COVID management is idiotic.
    Many deaths happened in NY/NJ, but to ignore how much their numbers have improved recently is simply political.

  41. Wonder if AA at EWR shut down? Quarantine will affect loads on AA’s EWR – Charlotte (NC), Phoenix (AZ), Dallas (TX) & Miami (FL) flights. Out EWR I guess only ORD will stay unaffected?

  42. The USA has the most toxic culture and citizens on the entire planet. We are a third world country with fancy gadgets. Our idiot in chief is a perfect reflection of this dysfunction. Our completely out of control Covid pandemic, unlike anywhere else on the planet (exception Brazil), is a perfect mirror as to where we are at. Perhaps, this can be a time for reflection on what it means to be a member of a society, to care for each other, and to get rid of old racist, sexist, class based systems which don’t serve humanity and only make us physically, mentally and spiritually sicker. Meanwhile, I will not be travelling at all because, as a medical professional, I know damn well self centered Americans cannot be trusted to adhere to science or facts and will gladly abuse their “freedumb”. These empowered ignoramuses willfully place the lives of their neighbors in mortal jeopardy . I am exhausted from American narcissism, greed and stupidity.

  43. All those saying show evidence – 1% positive test results for the states that saw an early surge in cases and there are several studies showing once you have had the virus you are immune.

  44. And some people where wondering if there where going to Europe this summer. The question is now is it going to happen before the end of 2020…

  45. @Pete,

    “ Many deaths happened in NY/NJ, but to ignore how much their numbers have improved recently is simply political.”

    Have the per capita death stats in NY/CT/NJ improved a lot? Yes!

    Are their latest per capita death stats still among the worst in the US? Yes!

    More than one thing can be true.

  46. Jan you still have no idea what flattening the curve was supposedly about. It is not about lowering infections or death rates. It was about spreading them out over time so as to not overwhelm the healthcare system.

    Will this blog ever return to normal? It used to be the highlight of my day. Now it is full of commenters who will never travel again. Why are you still here?

  47. Yawn – FL put in a quarantine requirement for NY/NJ/CT as did TX (plus a few other places) so Cuomo was looking for a reason to do the same.

    Take reasonable steps but understand the virus will spread and you will likely get it regardless of what you do. Take solice in the fact that 85-90% of people have no symptoms to moderate ones (much higher percentage if you exclude the very elderly (over 80) and those with pre-existing conditions.

    Everyone is so scared of their shadow. I fully understand the science and do my part to stay away from people but also am traveling (including to casinos) and would not hesitate to do whatever, wherever I want (again I’ll wear a mask, distance, etc.). You can’t live your life worried about everything so get out there and enjoy life. If you get it you get it – sorry but that is my feeling and I don’t lose one minute of sleep worrying about it.

    For those whining about how Americans can’t travel internationally and how it is due to our failure to follow rules first of all the US is established as 50 different states for a reason and it is up to each one to do what is best for their citizens so this was never about a federal mandate. Secondly, so what if you can’t travel internationally for even maybe 18 months or so. Is that REALLY that big a deal? By then either their will be a vaccine or the virus will have largely run its course. Also, this is part of natural selection – nature always prunes the herd and this will largely take out the weakest and most vulnerable of our species which will, overall, improve world health.

  48. Let me be clear. Don’t lump all of california into this. As of earlier this week CA had 170,000 cases of covid. The top 7 counties were all in southern california and they make up 112,000 cases. The remaining 60K are spread out all over the rest of southern, central and northern CA. And if you watching the news you would know that almost all of the protest demanding to lift restrictions and “not wearing a mask” is their consititutional right, yeah all those nut bags were from southern california. Up here in northern CA, the largest hospital (one of the biggest in the country), had a total death rate of 7 patients. Hospital usage related to covid hovers around 5% of the beds. So you all can thank the nutty conservatives down in southern CA. Clearly the responsible adults live in the north with silicon valley while all the raging kiddies are in the south.

  49. Breaking news: Governor Inslee just announced that Washington was mistakenly included in that list and will be removed shortly.

  50. Can’t think of any reason to visit those states anyway, but the LARGER QUESTION is will this apply when transiting thru airports??? Did you mention this in your post?

  51. What a bunch of pompous assholes here.

    For all you “Masks are the Holy Grail” followers, run a search for “Masks-for-all for COVID-19 not based on sound data” at CIDRAP. Educate yourselves and learn something.

    [I’d post the link, but the post when then go into oblivion waiting to be moderated.]

  52. @bob, you’re right on the stats, but LA County, among the worst per capita deaths in the state, is hardly a bastion of conservatism.

    There’s definitely a NoCal/SoCal divide in numbers, but it’s not political.

  53. @1KBrad Get updated. Your source, CIDRAP: “California mandates masks as US COVID-19 cases climb” – June 19, 2020.
    It’s clear, even in your CIDRAP article that puts doubt on the effectiveness of masks – it still states: wear a mask or keep 6ft apart, and wash your hands to limit the spread of COVID-19.

  54. @ 1KBrad — I don’t know that anyone seriously thinks masks are the Holy Grail? Everything I’ve seen from public health experts suggests spread of a virus we still don’t fully understand is best reduced through staying home as much as possible, implementing extensive testing and contact tracing, followed by physical distancing, and avoiding crowds (particularly indoor air-conditioned spaces).

    And in addition to all that, wear a mask in public.

  55. Apparently few remember back in March when Cuomo threatened to sue Rhode Island because they wanted to keep New Yorkers, who were dying like flies, out.

    Hypocrit.

  56. I’m also interested how he’s going to stop airport transit travel. I have a DTW to JFK, then on to DXB and MLE ticket coming up

  57. @SEAguy
    Thank you for your thoughtful analysis of the infection control picture in Washington state.
    I communicate with a number of colleagues in multiple states and your observations are consistent with other information coming from the NW. I am assessing when and where I can return to work and you were most helpful.
    Most of the of the other posts seemed unduly biased due to the bickering, name calling and panic porn politicization, so again, Thanks

  58. @Tiffany:

    It would help if you actually READ the scientific journal, even though it conflicts with your current beliefs. It is clear you did not.

    I quote:

    “In response to the stream of misinformation and misunderstanding about the nature and role of masks and respirators as source control or personal protective equipment (PPE), we critically review the topic to inform ongoing COVID-19 decision-making that relies on science-based data and professional expertise.”

    “Data lacking to recommend broad mask use

    We do not recommend requiring the general public who do not have symptoms of COVID-19-like illness to routinely wear cloth or surgical masks because:

    There is no scientific evidence they are effective in reducing the risk of SARS-CoV-2 transmission

    Their use may result in those wearing the masks to relax other distancing efforts because they have a sense of protection

    We need to preserve the supply of surgical masks for at-risk healthcare workers.

    Sweeping mask recommendations—as many have proposed—will not reduce SARS-CoV-2 transmission, as evidenced by the widespread practice of wearing such masks in Hubei province, China, before and during its mass COVID-19 transmission experience earlier this year. Our review of relevant studies indicates that cloth masks will be ineffective at preventing SARS-CoV-2 transmission, whether worn as source control or as PPE.”

  59. @Patti – There’s a difference. Rhode Island was going to use police and the national guard to stop and prevent NY licensed vehicles from entering Rhode Island.
    What Cuomo, Murphy and Lamont announced today was: NY, NJ and CT require travelers from states with high coronavirus rates to quarantine for two weeks.
    This 14 day quarantine is the same restrictions FL enacted to NY residents back in April.
    Please get your facts right.

  60. @1KBrad: As a scientist, I am sorry to in form you that you are committing a common form of misinterpretation of scientific evidence (or, more accurately, of the lack of scientific evidence). Simply because “there is no [scientific] evidence to support” the use of cloth masks does not mean that they are ineffective. While that *could* be the case, there is in fact no positive evidence that they are ineffective. The statement “there is no scientific evidence” often means that too few studies have been done to draw firm conclusions. If you read the article you refer to closely, you’ll see that’s in fact exactly the case here.

    Yet the CDC and public health departments the world over recommend wearing masks, even cloth masks. Why? Because it’s highly plausible that they do have some effect in preventing transmission. Most likely they are not hugely effective; after all, we know why N95 masks are better than cloth masks. But that’s why the primary recommendation is to avoid other people, not wear a mask and mingle the same way you did 6 months ago.

  61. @1KBrad – You failed to include that the FORMAL REQUEST FOR THE RETRACTION of the study in question states: “While we agree that mask-wearing plays an
    important role in slowing the spread of COVID-19, the claims in this study were based on easily
    falsifiable claims and methodological design flaws.”

    In other words, the paper was flawed, not the fact that wearing a mask DOES play a role in slowing the spread of the virus.

  62. @Marv: “Our completely out of control Covid pandemic…” Not completely. It is under control here in NY.

    Whether it remains so after reopening, and after yahoos from other states come here and contaminate us (because you can be sure that someone who refuses to wear a mask is also going to refuse to self-quarantine), is a different question.

  63. @DD: Where is this formal request for retraction and who requested it? It is not on the article page.

    @snic: The WHO and the CDC both said masks are ineffective and did not recommend they be worn. Months later they changed their position, despite the absence of any controlled studies that masks are useful.

    As stated in the conclusion to the article I referenced, “Cloth masks are ineffective as source control and PPE, surgical masks have some role to play in preventing emissions from infected patients, and respirators are the best choice for protecting healthcare and other frontline workers, but not recommended for source control. These recommendations apply to pandemic and non-pandemic situations.”

    It is ridiculous to suggest that masks should [must] be worn in the absence of proof they will do any good at all. We shouldn’t compel people to affirmatively take steps unless there is legitimate evidence it will be effective.

    When masks are recommended or required, there should be scientific proof they will be effective. At present, there is none.

    Masks just make it look like we are doing something.

  64. @1KBrad – Click on the link in the first paragraph of the CIDRAP article: “Controversy on COVID-19 mask study spotlights messiness of science during a pandemic”. The link is “requesting the retraction”.

  65. @1KBrad: It’s actually not true that there are no controlled studies. There is one titled “Community Use Of Face Masks And COVID-19: Evidence From A Natural Experiment Of State Mandates In The US” in Health Affairs. And there are probably similar ones. One can quibble about the quality of the study, but we are in the middle of a pandemic – do we really need iron-clad evidence before we do something so simple (and lacking in side effects or downside) as wearing a mask when we can’t avoid social contact?

    Here’s another way of putting it. Let’s say a new species of fish is discovered, related to the puffer fish. Instead of the nerve toxin tetrodotoxin, it contains a compound that is structurally similar but has never been identified before. There is “no evidence” that eating the fish will kill you. Would you eat it?

  66. @Patti: It is my understanding that the quarantine for travelers from hot spot states does not apply if you are transiting through JFK. You will find JFK to be very quiet, because there are so few international flights. And everyone wears a mask.

    @snic: Thank you for articulating so clearly the mantra that “absence of evidence is not evidence of absence”. And, for noting that, yes, we have controlled the virus in NYC.

    A cashier at my local food market noted to me the other day: in NYC we wear masks to be polite to our neighbors, because my mask protects you, and your mask protects me.

    Its really simple. And to be blunt, for those who don’t believe that, then please don’t come visit.

  67. This is the same guy that was shrieking and cursing, back in March, when Trump proposed a travel ban on NY? Hypocrisy in spades, although it’s the right thing to do…

  68. Research shows that the choice to engage in criminality, from traffic infractions to serious felonies, is not influenced so much by the severity of punishment as the likelihood of getting caught. We do not need to threaten people with life-destroying punishments for violating quarantine. If these draconian sentences were actually enforced, it would be in a sporadic and ethically dubious manner that could raise due process concerns. Compliance with any quarantine will be high if the public believes quarantine is actively being enforced. I’ve also heard about the enforcement teams mentioned upthread in Toronto, which have created an impression that compliance with quarantine is heavily monitored. These teams could be integrated with a robust contact tracing program of civilians with the power to issue civil infractions of a lesser amount. Start enforcing quarantine for visitors AS WELL as confirmed cases and close contacts with teams visiting at multiple random times over 14 days, issuing $500 fines for noncompliance. Then the quarantine will be adhered to.

  69. @Tiffany
    I am a health care professional that generally flys 4 segments every other weekend for contract fulfillment.
    I would agree with you that while “no one agrees that ‘masks’ are the Holy Grail”, they do have a function as an adjunct barrier when social distancing is not an option and in close or enclosed spaces with less than optimal air exchanges (including home environments with higher risk persons). I am frustrated that mask information has been convoluted, politicized & emotionalized.
    They are an inert barrier that filters according to the density of the material, fit and technique of the wearer. They don’t just filter “one way” (protect you but not others, protect others but not you) which is why donning, doffing, storage and reuse is critical knowledge for effective use and preventing transmission/cross contamination.
    They won’t filter ALL of a direct aerosolized blast but can *potentially* lower the spray of droplets that the virus rides on (don’t forget that microbes can also be absorbed thru the eyes) thus decreasing your total intake by some log number. Masks filtration is not “all or nothing” as some insist – the percentage of filtration Is a % of a specific size particle – actually your choices are ‘none’, ‘some’ or ‘as-high as-I- can-possibly-get’ and that is wholly dependent on material and fit. Mask use is not a social statement, but rather an assessment of risk with application of proven infection control principles & techniques that were evidenced based science LONG BEFORE Covid. I carry a supply – masks, cleaners, Kleenex, cough drops and hand sanitizer.-and use as appropriate when I fly. Although glad to share, I never attempt to mandate others practices as I view this as a personal responsibility. I promote these practices year round (but ESPECIALLY DURING FLU SEASON).
    Wear a mask or don’t but please for the love of sanity STOP FIGHTING ABOUT IT.

    That said, the most effective options for containing droplet spread are distancing, handwashing and volumes of fresh or filtered air.

  70. @DD

    Perhaps you should go back and look at the facts. At the time FL enacted that, NY had a Stay at Home, Shelter in Place order in effect for the Tri-state area. New Yorkers were violating that by fleeing to other states, putting them at risk.

    There are NO orders like that for Florida at this time. Nice try, totally missed the mark

    @Bob Not Bob

    Thank you. My original transit point is from Alabama to DTW, then on. All I want to do is walk from one terminal to another and get to turquoise water.

  71. @Spruce Goods: “1% positive test results for the states that saw an early surge in cases and there are several studies showing once you have had the virus you are immune.” It’s only evidence if you can back it up with a reference, otherwise these are just your words. References please or you have nothing!!

  72. @Patti – It’s not NY, CT, or NJ’s problem that those states that have a significant increase in COVID-19 cases are not imposing a mandatory quarantine. At least the governors in the Tri-state region are all on the same page, taking action, and looking out for their constituents.

  73. @Ernesto The difference is that the virus was in this country much earlier than anyone knew so when florida did their quarantine it was already all over the country. Now new york after taking drastic actions have gotten the situation under control, while Florida screwed around and may turn into the worst epicenter we have seen yet for the entire pandemic. Like seriously Florida had open beaches at one point during spring break in the middle of a pandemic.

  74. @ 1KBrad — Others have better addressed the scientific points already, but this stands out:

    “Their use may result in those wearing the masks to relax other distancing efforts because they have a sense of protection”

    Noble, but also misguided? Americans, broadly, appear to be “done” trying to contain this pandemic. I don’t know what it’s like where you live, but here we have had minimal adherence to physical distancing other than where it is mandated AND enforced. Many business owners got different state licenses back in March so they could be considered “essential”, bars opened anyway, people have set up classrooms in their living rooms, etc. It’s a whole thing. The sense of protection comes from the eternal optimism of the USA, not from doing any other one thing.

    So yes, it would be great if everyone was universally on board with doing the more difficult things that would bring this under control, or if we had extensive and aggressive testing and tracing set up. But barring that, folks can at least wear a mask. And honestly, what does it hurt?

    Finally, correlation certainly does not imply causation, but cases *have* been rising in states with more lenient or nonexistent face covering policies: https://www.inquirer.com/health/coronavirus/covid-19-coronavirus-face-masks-infection-rates-20200624.html One could reasonably infer that those states are taking a more lackadaisical approach to public health in general, and that mask usage is not the main problem, but again — what does it hurt?

  75. @ TrvlRN — Absolutely. I wish that more people understood personal responsibility as a critical component of functional society. But unfortunately here we are.

  76. Jay Inslee just tweeted:

    “Travelers from WA will NOT have to quarantine for 14 days when traveling to NY, NJ or CT.

    We do not meet the risk criteria and were added in error. Washington has been removed from the list.”

  77. I’m not sure these quarantine stuff is stick-able unless it comes with a severe teeth. Since there are none and state lines are porous, it’s just a suggestion! Lol.

    Americans love their freedoms and are self centered. Unfortunately for Americans, these two traits don’t do so well with containing COVID-19. I don’t see us getting out of it until we find a vaccine for this virus. Until then, buckle down kiddos; it’s gonna be a bumpy ride! This virus has a way of getting rid of those who thinks it’s just a minor flu….

  78. This is going out of hand. Please consider closing commentary area to the first 20 posts, or the first 20 hrs of releasing the article. I’m seeing way too many polarizing comments and it’s ugly (not to mention uncivilized).

  79. @DD: I’m afraid you got it 100% backward:

    “Late last week, a group of researchers posted a letter that they had sent to the Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) requesting the retraction of a study published the week before that purportedly showed mask use was the most effective intervention in slowing the spread of COVID-19 in New York City.”

    I realize we now live in a nanny world, but to tell everyone they have to wear a mask WHEN THERE IS NO SCIENTIFIC PROOF IT WILL STOP THE SPREAD OF COVID is just too much.

    Wearing a mask is a pain in the ass. I’d do it if it would do some good, but I am not going to accept, “Gee, it MIGHT do some good so why not.” That’s not good enough.

    @snic: the study you reference simply says it “might” help:

    “the World Health Organization strongly recommend that symptomatic individuals wear them. Since mask wearing by infected individuals can reduce transmission risk, and because of the high proportion of asymptomatic infected individuals and transmissions, there appears to be a strong case for the effectiveness of widespread use of face masks in reducing the spread of COVID-19. However, there is no direct evidence thus far on the magnitude of such effects, especially at a population level.”

    That’s not science. It’s nonsense, and people are buying into it.

    There is no scientific evidence that wearing masks slows or stops the spread of COVID.

    People are engaging in activities thinking masks help. They don’t.

    You want protection? Stay home or wear a face shield. Masks aren’t going to help. They are just a feel good measure.

    Sort of like air vents on airplanes (blowing cabin temperature air). It’s all in someone’s head.

  80. In another posting many objected the so-called “EU-travel ban”, based on contagion numbers. Perhaps the EU should also consider a similar move, i.e. restrictions only to those from high contagion US states.

  81. @1KBrad: You are 100% convinced you’re right despite one argument after the other that demolishes your position. I’ve already explained to you that you are simply wrong when you say science does not support wearing masks. You are even wrong when you say the evidence is only that masks “might” do some good. Masks do reduce the amount of aerosolized liquid that emanates from your mouth when you talk, breathe or cough. That is incontrovertible fact. Simple logic then gets you to the conclusion that masks reduce virus transmission because we know that the virus is transmitted via those aerosolized particles. At this point we don’t know how much that reduction is, but so far at least one study (plus the correlational evidence pointed to by Tiffany) indicates that it is meaningful.

    The standard for evidence to support action in the middle of an emergency is far lower than it is under normal circumstances. Given that there is, in fact, evidence (counter to your repeated false claims that there is none), the *minor inconvenience* of wearing a mask when you can’t social distance is the least that everyone can do.

    Finally, you are also wrong when you say that air vents blowing cabin-temperature air produce a cooling effect that is “all in your head.” I find myself wondering why I am bothering to argue with someone who doesn’t understand how perspiration works (hint: look up “evaporative cooling”).

  82. @ MARV – no need for me to comment , I just agree with all you say and I like your choice of vocabulary

  83. @Spruced Goods

    “All those saying show evidence – 1% positive test results for the states that saw an early surge in cases and there are several studies showing once you have had the virus you are immune.”

    Huh? How does this demonstrate that “most people” in these states are now immune??

    If 1% tested positive and are now immune, that means that 99% did not test positive and are not immune.

  84. As I have been pointing out over and over, the basis for recommending (and requiring) people to wear masks is not hysteria. It’s science, deductive logic, and common sense. In my opinion, the absolute refusal to recognize these arguments as valid, despite possessing no arguments at all to counter them, approaches something like hysteria. Or at least extreme irrationality.

  85. For all those folks saying that FL handles this pandemic in a good way and NY didn’t.

    I want to ask a few questions.

    1) Why is there only a couple of new cases in NY and the number of cases in FL rises by every passing day?

    2) Why isn’t FL imposing now a national lockdown if the numbers now are higher than it was during the lockdown?

    The only way I can see an answer is that those crazy governors in FL, TX, etc. are going in the same way then the crazy president of the US who says “Stop the testing and there won’t be new cases” but if they say this why do they test just:

    STOP TESTING, LET YOUR PEOPLE DIE, AND MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN.

    Is this what happened to the US government?

    Thank god I don’t live in the US…..

    Why did they impose a lockdown in the first place? To make so many people lose jobs? If it was to save lives what’s now????

    America wake up…

    I’m neither a republican nor a democrat, I’m someone that can take from both sides, but here the republicans (let’s say Trump) made the mistake….

    I’m not saying what they should do, but do something…..

    If the FL governor imposed a 14 quarantine on NY when the cases there was high and NY did things to stop the spread of the virus (maybe not everything was the right thing to do), why should he not impose the 14 day quarantine in the opposite direction when they don’t do anything???

  86. @snic: I provided you the search criteria for the researched and cross-referenced scientific article that was unable to demonstrate any protection that masks offer when worn by those who are asymptomatic with COVID-19. I would link to the article but can’t do so on this board, but its easy enough to find.

    I quoted the relevant portions of the article. No protection from mask wearing was found.

    As they said, if masks actually helped, Wuhan wouldn’t have had an outbreak since mask wearing was widespread there even before the outbreak occurred.

    In response, the ONLY reference you provided is one that couldn’t find any protection from wearing masks, either to the wearer or other parties, and could only opine that wearing a mask “might” help. But that conclusion was not based on any scientific evidence.

    I gave you science and you responded with innuendo. Is that all you have?

    @Tiffany: There is no correlation between mask use and COVID rates. California had a severe lock down and requires masks in most places. They are nevertheless facing a huge infection rate.

  87. There is something very unsettling about blanket policies such as these as well as the mass hysteria and mob mentality that drives them. Consider for a moment our Final Jeopardy answer:

    Treatment or consideration of, or making a distinction in favor of or against, a person or thing based on the group, class, or category to which that person or thing belongs rather than on individual merit.

    Alex, What is discrimination?

    Two individuals enter New York, one from Florida, one from Illinois. Nether is carrying a contagion of any kind, yet one is punished unnecessarily by quarantine while the other is allowed to roam carelessly. Both, of course, are still required to wear a mask…to prevent their spreading a contagion that neither of them have. Where is the science behind this?

  88. I do not like masks but i do realize that if people coughed or sneezed without them, it would be not as nice as if they did the same with them…..
    However what is concerning is the number of Americans who are refusing any debate on whether masks help, and (as in a popular travel forum) banned anyone from doubting their effectiveness. What these people ignore is that, countries like Canada, Spain, Germany, Italy have not required universal mask usage, except in public transport.
    And as someone pointed out, if they were of so effective, how did China get hit badly?
    What we have now is a society of many midwits who justify any and every policy under the cringeworthy phrase “Follow the science”.
    Do masks help? In certain situation, yes
    But what pro-maskers say is that masks can eliminate the virus, which is absolutely false

  89. @1kBrad: Yes, you pointed to one article that asserts that there is “no evidence” that masks help. I pointed to another that said there is such evidence (counter to what you said it says). And a recent review of 172 observational studies in The Lancet concludes that masks do help. The Washington Post cites that study in a report saying that there is a scientific consensus that masks reduce virus transmission. So I don’t know what to tell you other than you are simply wrong.

    As I’ve also said over and over, the evidence is not watertight in the sense that no gold-standard studies have been conducted (double blind randomized control). As I keep saying (apparently to deaf ears), that doesn’t matter when logical deduction leads you straight from “masks prevent aerosol transmission into the air” to “masks prevent virus transmission” (or at least reduce it). And when 172 studies provide observational evidence to support this deduction.

    Finally, you keep citing widespread mask wearing in Wuhan as evidence that masks don’t work. That is completely ridiculous. As I have *also* said, the recommendation is NOT to wear masks and mingle like it’s 2019. That is *precisely* what the good people of Wuhan were doing – and, of course, it’s not even the case that all of them were wearing masks. The recommendation is to STAY AWAY FROM OTHERS, and wear masks only when you can’t avoid others (like when grocery shopping). It’s a game of probabilities: we want to reduce the likelihood of virus transmission. The likelihood is high in a place where people congregate in massive crowds on a daily basis, even if some or even most of them wear masks. The fact that the virus spread under these conditions is NOT evidence that the current recommendations don’t work.

    But – please feel free to come back here and simply insist that you are right despite a mountain of reasons why you are wrong, and that I and the CDC and the WHO and public health departments from Kalamazoo to Lahore and thousands of scientists and thousands of physicians are just telling you to wear masks because we are hysterical. My guess is that anyone who is still following this argument will find that stance absurd.

    (The title of the Lancet article: Physical distancing, face masks, and eye protection to prevent person-to-person transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19: a systematic review and meta-analysis; publication date June 27.)

    (Title of the Washington Post article: Spate of new research supports wearing masks to control coronavirus spread, June 13)

  90. @Shah: “what pro-maskers say is that masks can eliminate the virus”

    I don’t know anyone who says that. You can’t wear a mask and pretend it’s full PPE (N95 mask, gloves, face shield, gown). There’s a REASON why health care providers wear all that when treating COVID patients. They don’t just wear the cloth mask Grandma made for them.

    That doesn’t mean Grandma’s cloth mask is useless. It reduces transmission, especially from the wearer to others, even though it does not eliminate the possibility of transmission. Which is why staying away from others is still the best way to minimize spread of the coronavirus.

  91. @snic: Do you even read what you cite to?

    “Although direct evidence is limited, the optimum use of face masks, in particular N95 or similar respirators in health-care settings and 12–16-layer cotton or surgical masks in the community.”

    Evidence is limited and even then pertains to N95 or 12-16 layer cotton or surgical masks, which virtually no one in the community is wearing anyway.

    “action is needed at all levels to address the paucity of better evidence”

    Translation: they don’t know.

    As to Wuhan, masks are supposedly for when social distancing is not possible. So you are admitting they didn’t work in that context in Wuhan?

    Look, the government is telling everyone that masks work and they have to be worn. The empirical evidence simply does not support that conclusion.

    The study I referenced indicates that, even to the extent that masks may slow droplets, it does not affect the transmission rates of COVID-19.

    Search for “Masks-for-all for COVID-19 not based on sound data” at CIDRAP:

    “In response to the stream of misinformation and misunderstanding about the nature and role of masks and respirators as source control or personal protective equipment (PPE), we critically review the topic to inform ongoing COVID-19 decision-making that relies on science-based data and professional expertise.”

    “Data lacking to recommend broad mask use.”

    “We do not recommend requiring the general public who do not have symptoms of COVID-19-like illness to routinely wear cloth or surgical masks because:”

    “There is no scientific evidence they are effective in reducing the risk of SARS-CoV-2 transmission.”

    “Their use may result in those wearing the masks to relax other distancing efforts because they have a sense of protection.”

    “Sweeping mask recommendations—as many have proposed—will not reduce SARS-CoV-2 transmission, as evidenced by the widespread practice of wearing such masks in Hubei province, China, before and during its mass COVID-19 transmission experience earlier this year. Our review of relevant studies indicates that cloth masks will be ineffective at preventing SARS-CoV-2 transmission, whether worn as source control or as PPE.”

  92. You are completely ignoring my arguments about deductive logic. The evidence clearly indicates that wearing N95 or surgical masks reduces transmission. Does that mean we know absolutely nothing about other kinds of masks, and therefore we shouldn’t bother wearing them? Of course not. We know that other masks are not as effective as medical-grade masks, but that doesn’t mean they are completely useless. They do exactly the same thing as these other masks, just not as efficiently. It is perfectly reasonable to conclude that widespread mask wearing will reduce transmission – especially from the mask wearer to others. That, in fact, is what healthcare and public health establishments all over the world have concluded.

    As for why widespread mask wearing didn’t work early on in Wuhan: you are ignoring (a) that mask wearing was far from universal (compared with what it is now in, for instance, NY – everywhere I go, people are wearing masks; non-compliance is relatively low); and (b) that a single counterexample does not invalidate a conclusion based on probabilities. Specifically, it is certainly not the case that an outbreak can’t happen even if everyone wears N95 masks but crowds together for prolonged periods. But the chances are very likely to be reduced if everyone wears masks. The fact that an outbreak happened when *some* people wore masks (certainly not N95) in crowded conditions doesn’t mean that the probability of an outbreak is necessarily equivalent in the “everyone masked” vs “no one masked” condition.

    Finally, there’s no need to keep reposting quotes from the one study that supports your conclusions. I get it – there is no clear direct evidence that mask wearing works. But you have also failed to address the other point I keep making, which is that in a public health emergency, when indirect evidence is all we have, we would be foolish to refuse to make decisions on indirect evidence.

  93. Rich of cuomo who is gleefully sitting on a pile of 30,000 bodies and through incompetence let it ravage nursing homes.

    At this point, it’s clear that for those under 60, that the virus risk is small. Either get on with life (as most people are) or stay in your hermit for the next 2+ years (your choice ofc)

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