Dec. 16, 2020 — With U.S. regulators on the cusp of approving a second coronavirus vaccine, there may be new hope that COVID-19 will ultimately be eradicated. However medical consultants warn that optimism might result in careless habits within the coming weeks and are advising folks to method holiday travel with the utmost warning.
Docs suggest having digital gatherings in lieu of intimate get-togethers, and touring provided that there may be an pressing want. If journey is completely vital, you will need to have wipes, hand sanitizer, masks — and to maintain your guard up.
“Sadly, the vaccines is not going to take away the necessity to take precautions throughout the holidays,” says Henry Wu, MD, director of the Emory TravelWell Middle and an affiliate professor at Emory College College of Drugs. “This consists of masking, distancing, and hand hygiene.”
He provides: “The vaccines are extraordinarily promising and may very well be a game-changer. However we’re speaking about a number of months earlier than we see a rollout.”
Wu hosted a digital briefing Wednesday to supply security suggestions when touring by air or automotive throughout the holidays. He famous the skyrocketing COVID-19 circumstances that resulted from Thanksgiving and warned the identical factor might occur after Christmas.
High U.S. infectious illness knowledgeable Anthony Fauci, MD, has said he has the identical issues about Christmas as he did about Thanksgiving — besides Christmas could show to be extra dangerous as a result of it’s a longer vacation.
As a result of the vaccines seemingly gained’t be given to most of the people till spring or later, they won’t ease any restrictions this vacation, Wu says.
Amongst Wu’s security suggestions for holiday travel are:
- Keep away from journey if it isn’t pressing.
- If you may be touring, maintain gatherings small.
- At all times put on a masks.
- Carry hand sanitizer.
- Hold your distance from different vacationers.
If the precautions “are a headache and in the event that they take away the spirit of the vacations, think about suspending,” Wu says.
He provides that touring by automotive may be most secure, as a result of you possibly can management your setting. Whereas the air flow in plane make them a few of the most secure environments when it comes to COVID-19 threat, there are different points to fret about, like crowds and surfaces.
The excellent news, he says, is motels and Airbnbs have been taking a number of sanitizing precautions, although he recommends wiping down surfaces within the room simply in case. However, he says, the hazards of motels don’t lie in particular person rooms — they’re on the entrance desk, within the foyer, and in elevators.
“The extra you possibly can keep away from these areas, the higher,” he says.
Wu referenced a large coronavirus outbreak at an Austrian ski resort, which contaminated hundreds of individuals and worsened the COVID-19 unfold throughout Europe.
As soon as the COVID-19 vaccines are broadly distributed, Wu says, there could also be vaccine mandates created by airways. However till then, he recommends avoiding all journey — and in case you should, he says, get examined earlier than going anyplace, and self-isolate after your journey to keep away from spreading the virus.
He additionally suggests following the CDC guidelines for vacation journey, which embrace:
Extreme vacation journey might result in an much more overwhelmed well being care system, Wu says.
“There will probably be a degree when our hospitals, our ICUs, and clinics will probably be overwhelmed and simply have to show away people,” he says. “Because of this everybody ought to do their half to take their precautions.”