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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 Oct 28, 2021 - Politics & Policy

DeSantis sues Biden administration over contractor vaccine mandate

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. Photo: Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Thursday announced a lawsuit against the Biden administration's order requiring federal contractors to be vaccinated against the coronavirus no later than Dec. 8.

Why it matters: This is the Republican governor's latest attempt to undermine federal vaccine requirements, with the lawsuit alleging that such measures are a "radical intrusion on the personal autonomy" of U.S. workers.

Vaccine benefits outweigh risks for kids, scientists say

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Polls suggest some parents are hesitant to vaccinate their young children against COVID-19, but the benefits outweigh the risks, several infectious disease doctors tell Axios.

The latest: The FDA and CDC may soon authorize Pfizer's lower-dose vaccine for that age group, with Moderna close to also seeking approval. NIAID director Anthony Fauci says he's "excited" about the possibility of broadening possible protection for 28 million more Americans.

Oct 28, 2021 - Health

Study: Common antidepressant guards against COVID hospitalization

A COVID-19 intensive care unit in Rio de Janeiro in May. Photo: Fabio Teixeira/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

The readily available antidepressant fluvoxamine significantly reduced COVID-related hospitalizations, according to a large study published Wednesday.

Why it matters: The clinical trial suggests that a cheap, readily available drug could dramatically reduce serious illness and death when prescribed early.