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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Chicago added three states and a U.S. territory to its COVID-19 travel advisory Tuesday.

The big picture: State and local-level travel rules were a blunt-force approach to slowing the pandemic last year — and ones that often proved difficult to actually enforce.

  • But with vaccination rates in many states stalling and concern about the more contagious Delta variant growing, it's possible that they may return.

Driving the news: Unvaccinated travelers from Florida, Louisiana, Nevada and the U.S. Virgin Islands will be advised — though not required — to obtain a negative COVID-19 test no more than 72 hours before coming to the city, or quarantine for 10 days upon arrival, the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) said Tuesday.

  • Last week, Missouri and Arkansas were added to the advisory list, which had been at zero for several weeks with no states surpassing Chicago's threshold of 15 cases per day per 100,000 residents.
  • "We remain well below our peak rates, but these recent increases are concerning," said CDPH commissioner Allison Arwady in a statement.

Flashback: Numerous states instituted travel restrictions and quarantine requirements for domestic travelers during 2020, in part because research showed interstate travel clearly contributing to spread.

What to watch: Internationally, travel restrictions are mostly receding as vaccinations spread, with Canada on Monday announcing it would end mandatory quarantines for fully vaccinated U.S. travelers on Aug. 9.

The bottom line: Other localities may follow Chicago's lead as persistently low vaccination rates in some states result in growing outbreaks.

  • But it's difficult to see the will returning for truly effective, enforceable domestic travel restrictions.

Go deeper

Updated Jul 20, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Scoop: White House official, Pelosi aide test positive for COVID

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Photo: Bill O'Leary/The Washington Post via Getty Images

A White House official and a staff member for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) have both tested positive for COVID-19 after attending the same reception last week, officials confirmed to Axios.

Why it matters: While both individuals are vaccinated and mildly symptomatic, they illustrate how Americans inoculated against the coronavirus can still contract and, potentially, unknowingly transmit the virus — even at the highest levels of the nation's government.

Jul 20, 2021 - Health

Lambda COVID variant found in Texas hospital

Photo: Francois Picard/AFP via Getty Images

A Texas hospital reported its first case of the Lambda COVID-19 variant as cases rise across the state, ABC News writes.

The big picture: The Lambda variant was first detected in Peru last August. From this April through June, the variant made up 81% of COVID-19 cases in Peru, according to the World Health Organization.

Jul 21, 2021 - Health

NYC to require vaccination or weekly testing for health workers

A New York City mobile coronavirus vaccine site in the Brooklyn borough.Photo: Michael Nagle/Bloomberg via Getty Images

New York City will announce requirements Wednesday for health workers in city-run hospitals and clinics to get vaccinated or weekly testing, per the New York Times.

Why it matters: Though Mayor Bill de Blasio has dragged his feet on mandating coronavirus vaccinations, the Delta variant has ushered in fear amid a third wave of new cases. The new policy is likely to cover over 10% of the 300,000 people who work for city government.