How safe is it to travel right now? Should I cancel? Follow these 4 steps

Flights are booked. Packages are packed.

Canceling Christmas travel plans seems incomprehensible at this point.

But for many it is also the speed of propagation of the omicron variant. The highly transmitted variant of Covid-19, which was first detected at the end of November but has since been found in nearly 90 countries, is causing uncertainty in travel around the world.

However, some in medicine and research this year sound different from the 2020 mantra of “stay home, be safe” – at least for now.

“At this stage of the pandemic, we have learned so much about this virus and how to keep ourselves from spreading the infection to others – and from getting infected,” said Stephen Kissler, a research fellow at the Harvard School of Public Health. T.Kh. Chan. online discussion December 9 with the program of the public radio “Mir”.

According to him, if certain precautions are taken, it is possible to “travel relatively safely.”

1. Get Accelerated

“If you are vaccinated and strengthened, and you take care when you enter crowded places such as airports to wear a mask at all times, you should be fine, “said Dr. Anthony Fauci, a leading US expert on infectious diseases. December 19 on NBC “Meet the Press”… “

He said there is “The main difference in terms of risk of disease severity” between “a vaccinated and re-vaccinated person who has an infection and someone who has an infection but has never been vaccinated.”

Moderna announced this week that laboratory tests have shown their vaccine boosters result in significant increases in anti-omicron antibody levels. Pfizer announced similar results earlier this month.

Dr Eric Poplar told CNBC on Monday that those with three shots are 95% immune to the delta variant, which is still circulating.

The omicron variant causes five times more “breakthroughs” among vaccinated people, he told Jim Kramer in Mad Money. However, “so far it has been reported that most of them were fairly lightweight.”

“We will see a fairly large number of new infections,” Topol said. “Some of them will not be soft … we just don’t know yet what kind of faction it is.”

2. Use quick tests before (small) meetings

“Rapid tests provide the best protection against distribute disease, – said Kissler. – I think more and more about [vaccinations] as a preventive measure against illnesses and serious illnesses – and testing as a preventive measure against spread ”.

He recommended using rapid tests just before the event, ideally an hour or two before it starts. He also suggests keeping the Christmas gatherings small and airing the room.

No matter how cold it is outside, there will be four to six inches of cracks in my windows, ”he said.

The riskiest part of flying is before and after the flight, not during the flight.

Sheldon H. Jacobson

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Because rapid tests are not as accurate as PCR tests, Topol recommended using them frequently to increase confidence in the results.

Likewise, Fauci said, “If you do them one by one, two or more, you will get a result that is accurate.”

3. Focus on the airport

“With the number of new cases reported daily, infected people are at airports and boarding planes,” said Sheldon H. Jacobson, professor of computer science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign who studies public health and aviation security.

But this flight is not what worries travelers the most, he said.

“The most risky part of air travel is before and after flights, not during flights,” he said. “Waiting in the terminal before boarding is a vulnerable time and environment for viruses to spread.”

“Air filtration and air circulation systems on planes do their job of preventing the spread of the virus, as do face masks,” said Sheldon H. Jacobson.

Adene Sanchez | E + | Getty Images

Kissler agreed, saying there was no point in taking off the mask at the airport just to be serious about it during the flight.

“You are more likely to become infected while queuing at airport security or waiting for a rental car,” Kissler said. “Don’t take off your mask [while aboard] plane for sure, but … be very vigilant about camouflage throughout the entire process. “

4. Refresh your mask while traveling.

In the United States, KN95 masks are much easier to find because hospitals and healthcare facilities can only use N95 masks, according to Smart Air, although “that doesn’t mean KN95 masks are worse.”

VCG | Visual China Group | Getty Images

“Airlines providing these face masks to every passenger would be an effective way,” Jacobson said. “I would add interstate bus lines and trains such as Amtrak to this group.”

For added protection The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends wearing two masks.: disposable mask at the bottom and a sheet mask at the top. Owners of three-layer disposable masks can also apply “knot and tuck “techniqueTo do this, tie the ear loops next to the mask and tuck in excess material for a more secure fit.

Finally, stay on course during your trip.

“Vaccinations, high quality testing and high quality face masks … all create a certain level of protection,” Jacobson said. “Any weakness in one or more layers weakens the security of the individual and the community and effectively amplifies the virus.”

When not to go

V CDC advises people not to travel if they:

  • Have been exposed to Covid-19 if they have not been fully vaccinated or cured of Covid-19 in the past 90 days.
  • Sick
  • Test positive for Covid-19, isolation is not terminated even if fully vaccinated.
  • We are waiting for the test results for Covid-19

Council may change

Travelers should be aware that travel recommendations may change as they learn more about the omicron option.

In a Twitter post on Wednesday, Bill Gates announced that he is canceling “most” of his Christmas travel plans because of this option.

World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus speaking at a press conference on Monday urged vacationers to revisit some of the activities: “Better to cancel now and celebrate later than celebrate now and grieve later.”

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