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Posted: Monday, May 11, 2020

Travel and COVID-19

Believe it or not, summer is right around the corner. While we’re more than a month away from the official start of summer, we all know that “summer” usually is defined by when kids are out of school, which would be right around the corner under different circumstances. And summer, of course, is typically a travel season, with trips, tourism and vacations popping up all through the summer months. With the arrival of COVID-19, however, summer is one of the many, many things that lots of us will likely be rethinking this year.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers some recommendations with regard to traveling amid the coronavirus pandemic, chief among them: don’t. The CDC still recommends avoiding non-essential travel, staying home as much as possible and practicing social distancing. Because it is possible to have COVID-19 and be asymptomatic, it’s also possible to spread it to others, which makes traveling to visit friends and family members risky. There’s a chance you could infect them and vice versa. It’s even more dangerous if your loved ones are at a higher risk for the disease due to chronic health problems or age.

If you do have to travel, it’s important to remember the guidelines you’ve been hearing about for months: wash your hands often or use hand sanitizers, avoid touching your face and avoid contact with sick people. The CDC also recommends using some sort of face covering while traveling. Remember, this helps protect others from you, which is particularly important since any one of us could have COVID-19 and not know it.

With more states reopening their economies, we’re likely to hear more about air travel and cruise lines. Some airlines already are beginning to offer domestic flights and cruise lines won’t be far behind. As far as planes go, the CDC says due to how air is filtered and circulates on planes, most viruses and germs don’t spread easily. The issue is contact with other passengers who may or may not be sick. If you must take a flight, remember to socially distance as much as possible; keep your hands clean with soap or sanitizer; and avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Cruise ships are another matter. The CDC recommends deferring all cruise ship travel worldwide. If you are still planning a cruise, the CDC says to consult your health care provider beforehand. Also, do not board a cruise ship if you are sick, and if you get sick while on the cruise, remember to stay in your cabin and notify the ship’s crew immediately.

The CDC also continues to advise against international travel, some of which may already be prohibited depending on where you were planning to go. This is because the health care systems in other countries may have limited access to COVID-19 treatments or may be overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients. Many airlines aren’t flying passengers overseas right now anyway, but if you do manage to travel to another country at this point, you also may wind up having to remain outside the United States for an indefinite period of time, too, depending on our country’s travel restrictions.

While staying home is likely getting old for many of us – and the idea of doing so all summer doesn’t sound like much fun – the CDC says it’s still the safest way to keep yourself and your loved ones safe from the potential spread of COVID-19.

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