The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) latest announcement of a new travel mandate affecting travelers from China into the United States is seen as problematic by several health experts.
On Dec. 28, the CDC announced that beginning Jan. 5, it will impose a requirement that all passengers 2 years and older boarding flights to the United States from China must produce a negative COVID-19 test or proof of recovery from the virus.
Airlines will be required to confirm the negative test result or proof of recovery for all passengers, regardless of nationality or vaccination status, before passengers are allowed to board the plane. Otherwise, the airline must deny boarding for the passenger. This same requirement will also apply to passengers boarding flights to the United States originating from the Special Administrative Regions of Hong Kong and Macau. According to experts, there are several problems with this announcement.
Natural Immunity Is ‘Superior’
According to Dr. Simone Gold, there are two problems with the CDC’s latest proclamation.
“One is that the requirement is wholly irrational and not necessary,” Gold told The Epoch Times. “The second is their concession that natural immunity exists and is, in fact, superior to having a vaccine.”
Based on the wording of the CDC’s announcement, Gold insists it “should most definitely include the words, ‘natural immunity,’” which means recovery from previously having the infection.
“Usually, this is an antibody test, but antibodies fade over time,” she said. “But natural immunity persists. People don’t know that. Just because the antibody levels go down, natural immunity does not go away. The immunity lives in your bone marrow, ready to deploy when the body sees the virus again.”
Gold is a licensed emergency physician, attorney, and founder of America’s Frontline Doctors. She also leads the nationwide movement to “Drain the Science Swamp.”
In response to an inquiry by The Epoch Times regarding the meaning of “documentation of recovery,” the CDC confirmed that “documentation of recovery means having previously had COVID-19.” According to Gold, “documentation of recovery” means “proof of natural immunity.”
As Gold explained, traditional vaccines “attempt to simulate natural immunity.” However, the immunity level they provide is “never as robust as natural immunity.”
“For a long time, we were fighting the CDC and other agencies to even acknowledge that natural immunity existed, let alone that it was superior,” Gold asserted. “This statement is an implicit acknowledgment of reality, that natural immunity exists and is, in fact, superior.”
Gold further contends that there is no need for the CDC’s new guidance because such a large segment of the American population has already had and survived COVID-19 “without serious effect.”
Statistics released by the CDC in April showed that 75 percent of American children had evidence in their blood suggesting that a prior COVID-19 infection had provided them with natural immunity.
“There is no reason why SARS-CoV-2 should be singled out as a specific virus that needs to get special treatment by the airlines or our government,” she said.
‘It’s Beyond Their Role’
Dr. Peter McCullough sees other problems with the CDC’s announcement.
McCullough—an internist, cardiologist, epidemiologist, and the chief scientific officer of The Wellness Company—has written several peer-reviewed articles on the virus and has provided extensive commentary on the medical response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
First, McCullough cited how “at least one federal court has already decided that the CDC has no input on travel recommendations.”
“A federal judge in Florida struck down the CDC’s recommendation for travelers to wear masks,” McCullough told The Epoch Times, adding that this is “a very important precedent.”
On Jan. 29, 2021, the CDC issued an order (pdf) requiring people traveling “on public transportation conveyances or on the premises of transportation hubs” to wear a mask “to prevent the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19.” This order was effective at 11:59 p.m. on Feb. 1, 2021, and was published in the Federal Register two days later.
On April 18, 2022, U.S. District Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle ruled (pdf) that the CDC violated the law by forcing travelers to wear masks, saying “the mandate exceeded the CDC’s statutory authority, improperly invoked the food cause exception to notice and comment rulemaking, and failed to adequately explain decisions.”
“The CDC has no role in opining on air travel from China to the United States, just like they had no role in opining on masks on airplanes,” McCullough explained, asserting that “the CDC is overstepping its bounds right now” and “does not appear to have learned from the prior court ruling.”
McCullough also contends “there is no role for testing.”
On June 13, 2020, the CDC issued its “consolidated COVID-19 testing recommendations,” suggesting that pretty much everyone should be tested for COVID-19. By August 2020, the CDC revised its guidance to recommend not testing asymptomatic people, even after potential exposure. On Sept. 28, the CDC reversed course again, recommending that “people who have symptoms of COVID-19 or who have had known exposure to someone with COVID-19 should be tested for COVID-19.”
Mixed Signals on Asymptomatic Testing
The World Health Organization (WHO) also vacillated on testing.
At an Aug. 27, 2020, press conference (pdf), Maria Van Kerkhove—an infectious disease epidemiologist who serves as the technical lead for the COVID-19 response at the WHO—said “testing may need to be expanded to look for individuals who are on the more mild end of the spectrum or who may indeed be asymptomatic.” On June 25, 2021, the WHO revised its guidance to advise against the testing of asymptomatic people.
“There have been multiple studies of asymptomatic testing,” McCullough said. “They’ve all shown that the rate of any positive test is less than one percent, and when the test is positive, it’s likely to be a false positive.”
While McCullough said he doesn’t agree with Gold that the CDC’s announcement serves as “an acknowledgment that natural immunity is superior,” he does believe that “recognition of natural immunity being protective against severe outcomes is a very important recognition.”
“We know the vaccines do not prevent COVID, they don’t stop transmission, and they don’t provide any protection against severe cases,” he said. “So, for that reason, it’s more important to know that someone has recovered than whether or not they’ve ever taken a vaccine.”
McCullough said the CDC is going right back to doing what the courts told them they couldn’t do.
“They can’t overstep their bounds and start interceding in travel policy,” he said. “It’s beyond their role. They don’t have appropriate expertise. They’re obviously contradicting themselves.”
As for what would be most helpful right now, McCullough said “the quickest thing would be for the courts to intercede and immediately strike down anything the CDC is trying to enact over the travel industry.”
McCullough, who was previously suspended from Twitter for violating the platform’s former “COVID Misleading Information Policy,” had his account reinstated on Dec. 13.
‘It Will Get Through’
Dr. Syed Haider, an internal medicine specialist and founder of mygotodoc.com, believes the CDC’s new mandate may be an effort to “prevent new variants, which may be developing in the population of China, from entering the United States.”
“Of course, when it comes to consistency, we don’t have the same requirement at our southern border with Mexico,” Haider noted. “We’re not testing those people and asking if they’ve had a vaccine.”
From a broader perspective, Haider says “if there is a new variant, this is not going to keep it out. Eventually, it will spread to the U.S. It will get through.”
To Haider, the prospect of a new variant is troublesome for the United States in that the population is “so heavily vaccinated.”
“Unfortunately, we’re seeing more and more evidence that vaccinations decrease the immunity of the population and increase their risk of catching, and dying from, COVID,” Haider explained, noting how more people who were vaccinated are dying of COVID-19 than at any point during the pandemic. “We have a population that is immunologically suppressed and primed for severe disease. So if there were some severe variant coming out of China, this might be the worst possible time to hit us because winter is when respiratory viruses are stronger and our immune systems are weaker. It’s a perfect storm.”
Haider also suspects “this may be a political thing.”
“The CDC, like all of our government organizations, tries to maintain its relevancy in the world,” Haider suggested, noting how “they were very relevant in the first year of the pandemic.”
“This overreach may be another effort to maintain political relevancy and to expand their purview,” Haider posited further. “The CDC has historically given recommendations. It doesn’t create policy. They don’t have the power to close down borders and pass laws. There is an element of overreach.”
Haider also said the new travel mandate “has nothing to do with health.”
“Something else is trying to be achieved here,” he theorized. “Perhaps a political motive for another power grab. We lost our liberties in the lockdowns and in the future, we need to be aware that that can come back in the form of more lockdowns, more travel restrictions, and COVID passports could be implemented. Any time we’re being told we need to limit our freedoms because of a virus, we should be skeptical.”
For Dr. Robert Malone—an American physician and internationally recognized biochemist whose early work focused on mRNA technology, pharmaceuticals, and drug repurposing research—the fact that the CDC’s new travel mandate is being applied “regardless of vaccine status” is “something new.”
“In a perverse way, it’s a relaxation of the strict prohibition on non-U.S. citizens entering the United States that are not up-to-date on their vaccinations,” Malone told The Epoch Times, comparing the latest CDC travel requirement to a previous policy announced in July. “So, the CDC even indirectly acknowledging the merit of post-COVID-recovery immune status is baby steps, compared to where they were before.”
Malone also contends that “none of this is grounded in an understanding of immunology or virology.”
“Vaccines do not prevent infection, replication, and spread,” Malone asserted. “We can never get to herd immunity with these products no matter how many times people are jabbed. All of this illustrates political theater. It has nothing to do with public health.”
Epoch Health articles are for informational purposes and are not a substitute for individualized medical advice. Please consult a trusted professional for personal medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment. Have a question? Email us at HealthReporter@epochtimes.nyc