Can you cancel your travel plans? A medical expert weighs in
Covid-19 cases in the United States are increasing again. Daily infection rates are at their highest level since February. This is due to the highly contagious Delta variant.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have once again called for indoor mask-wearing. They cite the fact that even people who are vaccinated can become infected and transmit Covid-19 to others.
Many people are making travel plans for the remainder of the summer, and the Labor Day weekend. Can they cancel their vacations or should they? Are air travels safe? What precautions should they take if they’re traveling with extended family members or friends? What about families with young children?
Can you cancel your travel plans? A medical expert weighs in
daily reuters Medical Analyst Dr. Leana Shen was able to answer many of our questions regarding travel and Covid-19 safety. Wen is an emergency doctor and visiting professor of policy and management at George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health. She is also the author of “Lifelines: A Doctor’s Journey in The Fight for Public Health” and the mother to two young children.Dr. Leana Wen:Consider the health risk to your family. Is everyone in your household vaccinated? You are protected from becoming seriously ill by Covid-19 if everyone in your house is healthy and vaccinated. People in this situation might choose to accept mild symptoms of coronavirus, and continue with their travel plans. You may make a different decision if someone in your household is not vaccinated or has an immunocompromised condition. You may be able to go on a very low-risk trip, such as driving and then going camping or hiking with your immediate family. If the trip will involve spending time indoors with unmasked and unvaccinated persons, I would advise them to not go. If family members still plan to travel, they can quarantine for three days after returning and then have their vaccines tested before they go indoors with vulnerable household members.
Wen:Yes. However, the CDC has determined that 95% of Americans live in areas with high or substantial coronavirus transmission. I would look into the area you are considering traveling to and what activities you might be doing there.
It’s very risky to drive to a national park if you plan to hike all day. If you plan to spend your time outdoors, it doesn’t matter how high the Covid-19 transmission is in the area.
This is very different than if you plan a week of indoor dining, visiting museums, and going to concerts. You are constantly exposed to Covid-19 if you’re participating in activities that are prone to virus transmission. Although vaccines are effective in protecting you, they do not protect 100%.
Risk is cumulative. The more you live in high-risk environments, around people who could be carrying the virus, you are more likely to get
Wen:It all depends. It all depends. Take into account the place you are going. The CDC hasUpdated information on Covid-19 per countryThere are four levels of risk.
In addition, the US State Department has helpful information including the protocols that you need to follow in order to enter the country. Be sure to read the requirements. For example, some countries require evidence of negative recent tests. Others require vaccination. Remember that rules change constantly and you should be flexible.
Wen:Once again, it depends. Many people who attend weddings come from all over the country and around the globe. This increases the risk of infection, particularly in areas with high levels Covid-19. It would be a good idea if hosts made sure everyone is vaccinated.
According to CDC data, vaccine-eligible people are eight times less likely to contract Covid-19 than unvaccinated. The risk of contracting Covid-19 is reduced if both the ceremony and the reception are held outdoors. Indoor gatherings of people with unknown vaccination status who are drinking and eating without masks would have the opposite effect. This would be considered a high-risk situation.
Wen:For those who have been vaccinated, plane travel is relatively safe. You should always wear a high-quality mask, preferably an N95 or N95 mask. You should eat and drink quickly to reduce the time that you aren’t wearing a mask.
Children under 3 years old should be vaccinated. If the child is unable to wear the mask for the entire trip, it would be a good idea not to bring them unless the trip is essential, such as moving across country.
My husband and I travel by plane with N95 and KN95 masks. Our almost four-year-old son is comfortable wearing masks and would be happy to wear them for a shorter flight. Our 16-month-old daughter is not yet old enough to wear a mask. We wouldn’t feel comfortable taking her on a flight at this time.
Different families might make different decisions depending on their risk tolerance and the value of the trip to them. The risk of getting into a pandemic is too high for us.
Wen:Yes. Use common sense and wear masks whenever you need to use the rest stop toilets. Instead of eating inside, order take-out. You should go straight to your hotel room and not spend time in the hotel lobby or bars.
Wen:It is best to have everyone fully vaccinated. If there are any people not vaccinated or people who want to lower their risk, they can all quarantine for 3 to 5 days before being tested. Quarantine means avoiding getting together indoors with others and refrain from participating in high-risk activities such as indoor dining.
This advice makes me feel like we are going backward. We have. We have more cases of Covid-19 and the more contagious Delta variant.
Vaccination is the most important thing to do in order to protect ourselves. We should also consider other precautions depending on our individual circumstances to lower risk and keep our family safe while still being able to travel.