We know you have questions about traveling to visit friends and family during this Thanksgiving holiday. What should you consider when making travel plans?
As Americans head home to see friends and family this Thanksgiving holiday, one of the top questions we see asked every day is whether it is safe to fly during the COVID-19 pandemic.
While traveling may increase the chances of getting and spreading COVID-19, there are simple steps we can take to minimize the risks. Yes, travel definitely increases your chances of getting and spreading COVID-19. There is always a risk of contracting COVID and several other infectious diseases when interacting with anyone, however, the goal is to minimize the risk of becoming infected.
Measures such as wearing face masks appropriately (covering both mouth and nose), social distancing and frequent handwashing, will significantly limit your risk of contracting COVID.
Perform research to determine if COVID is spreading in your local area or your final destination. If you are traveling to visit family or friends, consider if you or your loved ones are more likely to become extremely ill if you all do contract the virus. Individuals with increased risk of contracting COVID should consider postponing non-essential travels to regions with high COVID infection rates to avoid falling ill due to the pandemic.
On whether it is safe to travel by air during the pandemic, air travelers may be especially susceptible to COVID. Traveling by air definitely puts one at higher risk for contracting and spreading viruses (including COVID-19) and other germs, especially if you travel during high peak travel times. The reason being, you may be required to wait in security lines and at airport gates for a prolonged period of time, which would undoubtedly put you in closer contact with non-household members.
You are also more likely to come in contact with multiple surfaces that have been touched by a number of individuals and not sanitized. The good news is, most viruses do not easily spread on airplanes because the air is filtered and well circulated.
Unfortunately, there is a catch. Social distancing is nearly impossible on a full flight. Some airlines have taken the steps of limiting flight capacity as well as leaving middle seats vacant. But, even with these limitations, you will likely be seated less than 6 feet from other passengers, sometimes for several hours.
Is it safe to stay in a hotel right now?
The novel coronavirus is known to spread primarily from direct contact with people. That makes hotels potentially suspect by their nature as places where people gather. These people are typically unknown to each other and from unknown backgrounds.
The first thing that potentially opens up risk is running into other people that you have no idea what their infectious status is. We know now that there’s a lot of people who get the coronavirus who have no symptoms at all, who could potentially transmit it. We also know that people could potentially transmit the virus perhaps as many as six days prior to developing symptoms. So just because people are feeling well and circulating in society doesn’t mean that they couldn’t potentially be infectious. Therefore you have to assume that anyone you encounter that you don’t know could be potentially infectious. areas of potential concern and do a disinfecting pass.
Here are some signs that your hotel’s cleaning standards are up to par. You can always tell if a hotel has been properly cleaned and disinfected by checking the bathrooms and seeing if the room is free of dust. Those are the key areas to check first, which will be a major indicator of whether the hotel is clean and safe. These high-touch areas might include phones, TV remotes, door handles, bathroom faucets, toilet handles, and flat surfaces.
For healthy people is it safe to travel? With precautions probably so. But the biggest consideration are to evaluate who you will be visiting. Individuals considered to be at higher risk of developing complications from COVID include, but are not limited to, those that are elderly, have chronic medical conditions such as heart disease, lung disease or diabetes, those with cancer, marked obesity, weak immune systems, and smokers.