Is it safe to travel for the holidays in 2020 during the pandemic?

(CNN) — The finish of the 12 months is sneaking up, and individuals are weighing travel plans to be a part of family and friends for the holidays — all in opposition to the backdrop of a lethal pandemic.

Gathering with others — most likely the most common vacation custom — has by no means required a lot meticulous forethought.

Should you travel for the holidays in 2020? What precautions will make it safer? Who can be there and the way cautious have they been?

CNN spoke with medical specialists on how to scale back the dangers round vacation travel and while you actually ought to skip it altogether.

Should you travel for the holidays this 12 months?

“Probably not, if you are anxious or vulnerable,” says Dr. Richard Dawood, a travel drugs specialist and director at Fleet Street Clinic in London.

But touring is okay in the event you’re prepared to be cautious, comply with the guidelines and adapt simply to adjustments of plan, he stated.

There’s much more to contemplate when planning vacation travel in 2020.

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“I think the threshold for travel at this time should still be higher than before the pandemic,” says Dr. Henry Wu, director of Emory TravelWell Center and affiliate professor of infectious illnesses at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta.

“If you do choose to travel, try to keep gatherings small and take precautions,” equivalent to sporting a masks and training social distancing and good hand hygiene, Wu stated.

Who ought to skip it?

“Are you older, are you frail, do you have chronic underlying illnesses?” are the questions to ask, says Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious illnesses specialist at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee.

People who’re contemplating assembly up with weak family or buddies ought to actually weigh the implications of introducing sickness to them, Wu stated.

“There are well-documented Covid-19 clusters associated with family gatherings, including ones that resulted in deaths,” he stated.

Driving is not without risks, but your interactions with others can be more easily controlled than with air travel.

Driving just isn’t with out dangers, however your interactions with others will be extra simply managed than with air travel.

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Are some places safer than others?

Gatherings are possible safer in areas round the world the place infections stay low, though the commonplace precautions nonetheless apply.

For instance, it could also be attainable to have a “relatively normal” Thanksgiving gathering in components of the United States the place infections are very low, in accordance to Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

“But in other areas of the country … you’d better hold off and maybe just have immediate family,” Fauci instructed CNN’s Chris Cuomo. As all the time, put on masks and maintain gatherings small to scale back the danger of an infection.

“I’d like to say that everything is going to be great by Thanksgiving, but honestly … I’m not so sure it is,” he stated.

Does testing present safety?

Testing may also help catch coronavirus infections earlier than travel, Wu stated,”but testing is not foolproof.”

“It can be falsely negative, or just miss infections you are still incubating,” he stated. “You could certainly also get infected during travel and potentially infect others after that.”

Testing can supply “a level of reassurance if the people who are attending are negative at the time they were tested,” Schaffner stated. “You still have to be cautious.”

What’s the most secure method to get there?

Driving usually permits vacationers extra management of their interactions with different individuals than flying or different types of communal transportation, the specialists say.

“Your own vehicle, or a private jet!” is the most secure method to travel, Dawood says.

Minimizing contact while you get out of the automobile is essential, Schaffner says. Mask up while you’re outdoors the automobile, make only a few, very transient stops and choose for drive-thru meals over going inside a restaurant.

With air travel, “you’re more at the mercy of what’s happening around you,” Schaffner stated. Still, sporting masks, good hand hygiene and sustaining as a lot social distance as attainable is vital.

Staying in a hotel may give guests more control of their environment than staying with friends or relatives.

Staying in a resort might give visitors extra management of their atmosphere than staying with buddies or family.

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Should you stick with household?

Schaffner sees motels as providing extra management of your atmosphere than staying in a relative’s house, supplied you keep away from shut encounters in elevators and different public areas and skip restaurant eating in favor of takeout or room service.

Whether you select to keep in somebody’s house “has a lot to do with who’s the relative and how careful have they been,” Schaffner stated.

Anytime you are gathering in shut contact with buddies or family, it’s vital to talk about these items in element beforehand: Is anybody at elevated danger for extreme illness? What sorts of precautions and dangers are visitors and hosts taking day to day?

Schaffner is aware of individuals who have stayed in the properties of buddies or family after fastidiously quarantining for a few weeks earlier than visiting or receiving visitors. That’s the form of security measure that is good to contemplate and agree upon in advance.

Wu does not have a strict reply on whether or not staying with family and friends or in a resort is safer. Quite a few components come into play, he says, together with your potential to safely distance. For stays in the identical home with different individuals, “consider if the family you are visiting has been able to isolate and take precautions,” he says.

Joining hands around a crowded holiday table is best skipped this year.

Joining fingers round a crowded vacation desk is finest skipped this 12 months.


Can you safely collect with individuals outdoors your family?

Even in the event you do keep in a resort, likelihood is good that you will need to collect with different households to rejoice the vacation season.

Schaffner has been to family’ properties during the pandemic they usually’ve been to his, however they’ve stayed far aside and worn masks and solely stayed collectively for a few hours, he says.

Food is served, however they sit at the far ends of the eating room desk and take their masks off solely to eat and drink.

“It is prudent to keep the mask on during a family gathering, especially if indoors and you (or others) have risk factors for severe illness,” Wu stated.

In the United Kingdom, many areas have formally restricted the measurement of gatherings to management the unfold of the virus.

“The ‘rule of six’ shows no sign of letting up, restricting gatherings to groups of six, but people are finding innovative ways to meet while respecting the rules, including ‘drive-by’ weddings, and setting a rota of events through the day,” Dawood says.

“Large groups, especially if coming from different households or geographic locations, could increase the risk of infection,” Wu stated.

The very most secure possibility? “Get a small turkey and stay at home,” Schaffner says.

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