‘Risks from travel will go up’: Doctor reacts to lifting of COVID testing requirements

An infectious disease specialist at Florida International University is explaining the potential ramifications of the Biden administration lifting its requirement that international travelers test negative for COVID-19 within a day before flying to the United States.

MIAMI – An infectious disease specialist at Florida International University is explaining the potential ramifications of the Biden administration lifting its requirement that international travelers test negative for COVID-19 within a day before flying to the United States.

The restrictions will officially be lifted Sunday.

“The risks from travel will go up,” Dr. Aileen Marty said. “There is no question about it.”

Marty said the decision makes it more likely that there will be “people who knowingly or unknowingly are shedding the virus on the airplane.”

This move comes just days after three cases of the new COVID subvariants, BA.4 and BA.5, were found in Miami-Dade County and at a time when case numbers are on the rise.

“Our (positivity) rates in Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach are over 20 percent and that’s the known rate,” Marty said.

The doctor said that doesn’t even account for the people taking at-home tests. Some of those numbers aren’t even recorded, she explained.

Airline and tourism groups have been pressing the administration for months to eliminate the testing requirement, saying it discourages people from booking international trips because they could be stranded overseas if they contract the virus on their trip.

Roger Dow, president of the U.S. Travel Association, called lifting the testing rule “another huge step forward for the recovery of inbound air travel and the return of international travel to the United States.”

Airlines argued that the rule was put into effect when few Americans were vaccinated — now 71% of those 5 and older are fully vaccinated, according to CDC figures. Airlines also complained that people entering the U.S. at land borders are not required to test negative for COVID-19, although they must show proof of vaccination.

Many other countries have lifted their testing requirements for fully vaccinated and boosted travelers in a bid to increase tourism.

The Biden administration will be reviewing the changes after 90 days.


About the Authors:

Alex Finnie joined the Local 10 News team in May 2018. South Florida is home! She was raised in Miami and attended the Cushman School and New World School of the Arts for high school.

Chris Gothner joined the Local 10 News team in 2022 as a Digital Journalist.