In the best of times, summer travel can be a challenge, but for summer 2022, travel may be a bit more chaotic as the COVID-19 pandemic moves through unpredictable ups and downs.
Another COVID-19 Wave Kicks Off
Now in the third year of the COVID-19 pandemic, while it seemed that SARS-CoV-2 was moving toward endemicity, infections in the United States are again rising.1
One thing we do know about SARS-CoV-2 is that it is constantly changing. Although new variants are an expected part of the evolution of viruses, monitoring each one that surfaces is essential in ensuring we are prepared. This is especially true if a new variant is more aggressive, highly transmissible, vaccine-resistant, or able to cause more severe disease when compared with the original strain of the virus.2
COVID-19 Isn’t Quite Finished
There’s still a lot to learn about COVID-19, Omicron (BA.1) and its subvariants.
In February 2022, two new Omicron subvariants, BA.4 and BA.5, that originated in South Africa3 were classified by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control and the World Health Organization as variants of concern.3 As of July 2, 2022, BA.4 and BA.5 are estimated to make up a combined 70% of the coronavirus variants in the United States.2
Travelling During the COVID-19 Pandemic
If you choose to travel this summer, it’s best to plan ahead and take precautions to protect yourself and others against COVID-19.4 Travelers are reminded to follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) travel guidance as well as local and state advisories regarding COVID-19.
Take Precautions to Protect Yourself from COVID-19
COVID-19 vaccinations remain the most effective tool in preventing severe illness, hospitalization, and death from COVID-19.5 But even if you’re vaccinated, it’s still a good idea to take precautions to protect yourself, family members, children and others while traveling during the COVID-19 pandemic.6
Effective June 18, 2022, the CDC endorsed a recommendation that all children 6 months through 5 years of age should receive a COVID-19 vaccine. Parents and caregivers can now get their children at least 6 months of age vaccinated with the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines to better protect them from COVID-19. According to the CDC, all children, including children who have already had COVID-19, should get vaccinated.7
The CDC recommends not to travel if you have COVID-19 symptoms, tested positive for COVID-19, are waiting for results of a COVID-19 test, had close contact with a person with COVID-19, or are recommended to quarantine.8 Travelers are reminded to follow CDC COVID-19 travel guidance if they have COVID-19 symptoms, are waiting for test results, or have been in contact with someone with COVID-19.
Testing and Treatment for SARS-COV-2 Infection
We must continue to protect ourselves from COVID-19 and use the tools that we have at our disposal to respond to this ongoing pandemic. If you or anyone feels unwell or exhibits any signs of COVID-19, it’s best to contact a healthcare provider right away to test and seek treatment for COVID-19. 12
Test to Treat
COVID-19 medications are now available through your doctor, local pharmacies, and health clinics.
The Test to Treat program gives people a fast and easy way to get lifesaving treatment for COVID-19. Adults and children of all ages can be tested at a site. People 12 years and older who weigh more than 88 pounds (40 kg) and have high-risk conditions may be eligible for treatment.13
On July 6, 2022, the FDA revised the Emergency Use Authorization for Pfizer’s PaxlovidTM, allowing state-licensed pharmacists to prescribe the antiviral treatment directly to eligible patients with certain limitations.21. The FDA also determined that Merck’s LagevrioTM should only be prescribed by healthcare prescribers, and not by pharmacists.22
If you test positive for COVID-19, you should first consider seeking care from your primary health care provider or through a one-stop Test to Treat site available nationwide at hundreds of pharmacy-based clinics and Health Resources and Services Administration supported federally qualified health centers.14
The Test to Treat program does not change existing requirements for qualified healthcare providers to write the prescriptions for these medications. People can continue to get tested and treated by their own healthcare providers, who can prescribe these medications to eligible patients. Patients can pick up those prescriptions wherever oral antivirals are distributed.15
If these medications are inappropriate for patients, additional COVID-19 drug options outside the Test to Treat program are available. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has developed and regularly updates Treatment Guidelines to help guide healthcare providers caring for patients with COVID-19.16
Point of Care Molecular Testing
While there are many different types of tests that have emergency use authorization (EUA) in the United States, molecular diagnostics/nucleic acid amplification tests (NAAT), remain the gold standard for identifying SARS-CoV-2 infection.17
Talis OneTM: The Next Big Thing in COVID-19 Molecular Testing
At Talis, we believe that accurate POC molecular tests that can provide results in minutes instead of hours are needed to meet the need for fast, accurate testing. But not all POC NAATs deliver the same accuracy and sensitivity that central lab NAATs deliver18, which is why we developed the Talis One COVID-19 Test System for use under Emergency Use Authorization (EUA), to deliver central lab quality NAAT results quickly and in a variety of care environments.20
For Air Travellers to the U.S.A.
Effective as of June 10, 2022, the CDC will no longer require air passengers traveling from a foreign country to the United States to show a negative COVID-19 test result or documentation of recovery from COVID-19 before they board their flight. The CDC will re-evaluate this decision in 90 days and could reinstate the requirement for pre-departure testing if there are new concerns about another variant.9
As a reminder, the CDC still requires proof of COVID-19 vaccination for non-U.S. citizen, non-immigrant air passengers arriving from a foreign country to the United States by air.9
For Land Travel to the U.S.A.
Effective as of April 21, 2022, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) extended requirements to non-U.S. travelers entering the United States via land ports of entry and ferry terminals at the U.S. Mexico and U.S. Canada borders to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and provide related proof of vaccination upon request. These requirements will continue to apply to non-U.S. travelers who are traveling both for essential and non-essential reasons, and do not apply to U.S. citizens, Lawful Permanent Residents, or U.S. nationals.10
Domestic Travel During COVID-19
If you plan to stay close to home, make sure you are up to date with your COVID-19 vaccines before travel and make sure you are aware of any travel restrictions in place at the state and local level.11
COVID-19 Molecular Testing Resources
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The GenBody COVID-19 Ag Test and the Talis One COVID-19 Test System are for use under Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) only. For In Vitro Diagnostic (IVD) use. For prescription use only. Talis is an authorized distributor of the GenBody COVID-19 Ag test.
*Additional testing solutions are currently in development and not available for sale.
- COVID-19 in 2022—The Beginning of the End or the End of the Beginning? JAMA. Published online May 27, 2022. doi:10.1001/jama.2022.9655. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/35622357/. Carlos del Rio, MD1,2; Preeti N. Malani, MD, MSJ3,4
- Omicron, Delta, Alpha, and More: What To Know About the Coronavirus Variants. Originally published: Dec. 10, 2021. Updated: July 5, 2022. https://www.yalemedicine.org/news/covid-19-variants-of-concern-omicron. https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#variant-proportions.
- European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control. Epidemiological update: SARS-CoV-2 Omicron sub-lineages BA.4 and BA.5. 13 May 2022. https://www.ecdc.europa.eu/en/news-events/epidemiological-update-sars-cov-2-omicron-sub-lineages-ba4-and-ba5.
- COVID-19 Travel Recommendations. https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/noticescovid19.
- Why to Get a COVID-19 Vaccine. https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2022/s0318-COVID-19-vaccines-protect.html
- Benefits of Getting A COVID-19 Vaccine. Updated June 19, 2022. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/vaccine-benefits.html
- CDC Recommends COVID-19 Vaccines for Young Children. https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2022/s0618-children-vaccine.html
- Travel. Updated June 13, 2022. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/index.html#:~:text=You%20have%20COVID%2D19%20symptoms,if%20you%20had%20no%20symptoms.
- CDC Travel. Updated June 13, 2022. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers.
- CDC Travel; International. Updated June 13, 2022. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/international-travel-during-covid19.html.
- DHS Extends COVID-19 Vaccination Requirements for Non-U.S. Travelers Entering the United States via Land Ports of Entry and Ferry Terminals. April 21, 2022. https://www.dhs.gov/news/2022/04/21/dhs-extends-covid-19-vaccination-requirements-non-us-travelers-entering-united.
- CDC-Public Health Professionals Gateway-Health Department Directories State & Territorial Health Department Websites. https://www.cdc.gov/publichealthgateway/healthdirectories/healthdepartments.html.
- CDC COVID-19. If You Are Sick or Caring for Someone. Updated Feb. 9, 2022. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/if-you-are-sick/index.html.
- FDA Updates on Paxlovid for Health Care Providers. Content current as of 05/04/2022. https://www.fda.gov/drugs/news-events-human-drugs/fda-updates-paxlovid-health-care-providers.
- Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR). https://aspr.hhs.gov/TestToTreat/Documents/Fact-Sheet.pdf.
- New COVID-19 Test to Treat Initiative and Locator Tool. https://emergency.cdc.gov/newsletters/coca/040422.htm.
- NIH COVID-19 Treatment Guidelines. https://www.covid19treatmentguidelines.nih.gov/about-the-guidelines/guidelines-development/.
- The Infectious Diseases Society of America Guidelines on the Diagnosis of COVID-19: Molecular Diagnostic Testing. Published. 2021 Jan 22. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33480973/. Hanson KE, Caliendo AM, Arias CA, et al.
- Diagnostics for SARS-CoV-2 infections. Nat Mater. Published 2021;20(5):593-605. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33589798/. Kevadiya BD, Machhi J, Herskovitz J, et al.
- Evaluation of the Talis One™ Covid-19 Test System for the Rapid Detection of Sars-Cov-2 and Emerging Variants. Talis Whitepaper Fall 2021.
- Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update: FDA Authorizes Pharmacists to Prescribe Paxlovid with Certain Limitations. https://www.fda.gov/news-events/press-announcements/coronavirus-covid-19-update-fda-authorizes-pharmacists-prescribe-paxlovid-certain-limitations.
- FDA is letting pharmacists prescribe Pfizer’s Paxlovid but won’t do the same for Merck’s Lagevrio. https://www.fiercepharma.com/pharma/fda-letting-pharmacists-prescribe-pfizers-paxlovid-wont-do-same-mercks-lagevrio#:~:text=%E2%80%9CThe%20FDA%20has%20determined%20that,for%20provider%2Dpatient%20consultation.%E2%80%9D