The State of Summer Vacation
Travel is ticking back up, and “vaccine passports” could play a big role.,
With Covid vaccinations underway, many people are wondering about travel.
The C.D.C. has recommended that Americans, even those who have been fully vaccinated, not travel yet. Case numbers have been rising in the U.S., and variants are spreading. But the reality is that many people who have received the vaccine are booking flights and trips again.
Though this summer likely won’t see travel at prepandemic levels, and many places remain closed, “bookings for almost everything are up,” Tariro Mzezewa, a Times reporter who covers travel, told me.
“Travel will go beyond the road trips of last summer,” she says. “Vaccinated people will be more comfortable being around other people.”
So what will change?
Expect to show some sort of proof — either of a negative test or of vaccination — when traveling. “You should be planning on showing your negative test or staying home if you don’t have one,” Tariro says.
The European Union, for example, has announced plans for the Digital Green Certificate, a so-called vaccine passport that countries can use to verify a person’s health status and allow free travel across the bloc.
The concept of a vaccine passport isn’t new: To travel to certain countries, for example, you already need inoculations against yellow fever and other diseases.
The travel industry and tech companies have been working on ways to streamline digital credentials for years, and during the pandemic some have started to repurpose that technology to show proof of vaccination. “It isn’t far off in the future,” Tariro says.
Countries are approaching travel differently. The Biden administration has said that it will leave the development of a vaccine passport in the U.S. to the private sector. At least 17 initiatives are underway, The Washington Post reported.
“Some think a coordinated, nationwide vaccine passport system could help us get back to a semblance of normal life and speed up economic recovery,” Rebecca Heilweil wrote in Recode. “But this seems unlikely.”
In Britain, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said that vaccine passports would “definitely” play a role in the future for international travel. China has already introduced its own digital certificate, which shows a person’s vaccine and testing history, and South Korea recently announced it would issue vaccine passports to immunized citizens using a mobile app.
A real-world example
In Israel, a possible vision of the postpandemic future is on display. More than half of Israelis have received both vaccine shots, and cases have dropped by 90 percent. The economy has reopened with help from a “Green Pass,” an entry ticket to society.
The pass isn’t being widely used for international travel — Israel is still closed to foreign visitors out of fear of variants — but it offers access to restaurants, concerts and more. Newspapers and commercials in Israel are already advertising summer getaways for the fully vaccinated in countries that have agreed to take them, including Greece, Cyprus and Georgia, according to Isabel Kershner, a Times correspondent in Jerusalem.
If you’re looking for more answers about vaccine passports, read Tariro’s article. And here’s what you need to know about the simple white cards you get after receiving a vaccine.
THE LATEST NEWS
Infections and hospitalizations in Michigan have risen sharply in recent weeks, giving it more recent cases per capita than any other state. Officials blame a more contagious variant and a premature return to prepandemic behaviors. “It makes me shudder,” a local health officer said.
The Biden administration announced an advertising campaign to promote the vaccines in communities where hesitancy remains high.
In London, bereaved families are filling a wall along the River Thames with 150,000 hand-painted red hearts — one for each life lost to Covid in Britain.
President Biden’s infrastructure plan includes programs meant to address the racial disparities of past infrastructure projects, like highways that split Black neighborhoods, and environmental waste in Hispanic and tribal communities.
Mitch McConnell predicted that no Senate Republicans would support Biden’s proposal. But some Republican officials across the country are embracing elements of the plan.
A federal investigation into Representative Matt Gaetz is focusing on his involvement with multiple women who were recruited online for sex. Receipts showed that Gaetz and a former Florida official had sent money to the women using cash apps.
At least 55 of America’s largest corporations, including FedEx and Nike, paid no federal taxes last year on billions of dollars in profits, a study found.
An accidental disclosure exposed a $1 billion tax dispute between the I.R.S. and the pharmaceutical company Bristol Myers. Few noticed. Then all traces of it vanished.
Senator Marco Rubio, Stephen Miller and other Republicans criticized Coca-Cola and Delta Air Lines for speaking out against a new Georgia law that makes it harder for people to vote.
A couple is left with a warehouse full of abandoned mannequins, cardboard boxes and other junk from Brooks Brothers stores — and a $250,000 price tag to dispose of it all.
Other Big Stories
Two paramedics who responded to the scene of George Floyd’s arrest testified that they did not see signs of life when they arrived. And a sergeant said that Chauvin and other police officers should have stopped holding Floyd down once he became unresponsive. (Here are the takeaways from Day 4 of the trial.)
A sheriff’s office in Texas fired seven officers over the death of Marvin Scott, a 26-year-old Black man who died after being restrained in a county jail last month.
A train derailed in Taiwan, killing at least 48 people and injuring dozens of others.
Sexual violence has pervaded the civil war in the Tigray region of Ethiopia. “What’s happening is unimaginable,” the operator of a local safe house for women said.
Virginia’s Supreme Court ruled that the city of Charlottesville could remove statues of two Confederate generals.
Nancy Reagan waged a private campaign to help end the Cold War, the Washington Post columnist Karen Tumulty writes in an excerpt from her forthcoming book about the former first lady.
Easter is more than a celebration of spring, Esau McCaulley, a biblical scholar, writes in The Times.
Modern Love: Was it fear of commitment, or was it something more complicated?
Lives Lived: Bibian Mentel was a six-time Dutch snowboarding champion when she lost a leg to cancer. She was soon back on the slopes, competing against able-bodied snowboarders, and she won a gold medal seven months after her surgery. Mentel has died at 48.
ARTS AND IDEAS
Navigating the new baseball season
The most noteworthy thing about this season of Major League Baseball, which began yesterday, is that it’s somewhat normal. After the pandemic forced major changes last year, including a 60-game schedule, the league is returning to a standard 162 games and fans are back in the stands.
Here are three things to watch for this year.
Lots of home runs. For the past five years, home runs have been flying into the stands in record numbers, and pitchers aren’t happy. To address it, the league has introduced a baseball that is less springy. Still, during spring training, batters hit it out of the park at the highest rate yet, according to The Ringer.
The best get better. The Los Angeles Dodgers have been to three of the last four World Series, and won it last year. And they seem to keep getting stronger: Over the winter they added pitcher Trevor Bauer, who won the National League Cy Young Award last year. Bill Plaschke of The Los Angeles Times has high expectations: “This season they’re going to be the best team in baseball history.”
Pandemic disruptions. The league has already postponed a game because of Covid — the opening day matchup between the Mets and the Nationals. As the season goes on, expect the virus to complicate things: Players could miss days, and teams may have to reschedule games.
For more: Tyler Kepner, a Times baseball writer, explains where all 30 teams stand. — Tom Wright-Piersanti
PLAY, WATCH, EAT
What to Cook
‘Til Death Do Us Part?
What’s life like as one of Hollywood’s go-to divorce lawyers? Laura Wasser, whose A-list clients include Stevie Wonder, Angelina Jolie and Kim Kardashian, knows.
What to Listen To
Whether you’re craving a thriller, a spy documentary or a music history lesson, each of these podcasts can be enjoyed in one big listen.
Take the News Quiz
Take this week’s News Quiz and compete with other Times readers.
Now Time to Play
Thanks for spending part of your morning with The Times. See you Monday. — Claire
P.S. A documentary series based on The Times Magazine’s “The 1619 Project” will debut on Hulu. The Academy Award-winning filmmaker Roger Ross Williams will produce the series.
You can see today’s print front page here.
Ian Prasad Philbrick, Tom Wright-Piersanti and Sanam Yar contributed to The Morning. You can reach the team at firstname.lastname@example.org.