Greenland is not that green during this time of the year. And it’s certainly not green on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Covid-19 Travel Recommendations map. In fact, Greenland is now in the red, the dark red there. That’s because the CDC has just leveled up Greenland, Italy, and Mauritius when it comes to Covid-19 risk. On Monday, these three destinations all went from Level 3, which is marked in red on the map, to Level 4, which is marked in dark red.
So you may want to postpone your plans to hand-deliver that package to Santa’s mailbox in Nuuk, Greenland, take in Galileo’s middle finger in Florence, Italy, or take Santa underwater scootering in Mauritius. Level 4 means that the Covid-19 risk in those destinations is currently “very high” and that you should avoid all non-essential travel there, whether or not you’ve been fully vaccinated.
Now you may argue whether delivering pickles in person to Santa Claus is considered non-essential travel. Regardless, the Covid-19 situations for Greenland, Italy, and Mauritius have been getting worse. For example, the number of new reported Covid-19 cases per day has been steadily rising in Italy since mid-October. It’s gone from 2,729 on October 15 to 19,212 on December 12, according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center. With close to 75% of its population fully vaccinated, Italy does have a higher vaccination coverage than the U.S., which so far has fully vaccinated 60.9% of its population. But beating the U.S. in vaccination coverage is like leading the Hulk in a pogo stick race. Neither 75% nor 60.9% are at the herd immunity thresholds necessary to really interrupt transmission of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2).
As I have covered previously for Forbes, the CDC has four risk levels for Covid-19. These CDC levels are like golf scores and the number of times your cat punches you in the groin. The higher the number, the worse things are.
Level 4 is the worst, followed by Level 3, which corresponds to a “high” Covid-19 risk. For travel to Level 3 destinations, the CDC recommends that you first get fully vaccinated. If you are not yet vaccinated, then you should really avoid all nonessential travel to Level 3 destinations. A destination levels up from 3 to 4 when the number of reported Covid-19 cases per 100,000 residents over the past 28 days crosses the 500 threshold. A destination goes from Level 2 (moderate risk) to Level 3 when this number surpasses 100 and from Level 1 (low risk) to Level 2 when it goes over 50. Destinations at Level 2 appear in orange and those at Level 1 appear in yellow on the map.
Not all the CDC Covid-19 Travel Recommendations news on Monday was bad news. Malaysia moved down to Level 3 from Level 4 for the first time since June 2021. And three destination, Jamaica, the Philippines, and the Republic of Congo, are the new orange, going from Level 3 to Level 2.
Of course, the CDC Covid-19 Travel Recommendation lists can be like the casts of the reality TV shows The Bachelor and The Bachelorette, changing each and every week. The colder and drier weather in the Northern Hemisphere and spread of the Omicron variant of the SARS-CoV-2 could soon take more destinations to whole another level. This may not be the best time to travel internationally unless you have your own blimp and island. There are other things that you can do for fun over this Holiday Season. And you could always mail Santa a package.