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Is it safe to travel to destinations with COVID-19 surges?

by Marjorie

Journey locations for California residents have been restricted up to now 12 months amid the worldwide pandemic, and for months, holidays inside the state appeared to be the one possibility. However with the Golden State recording a number of the lowest charges of COVID-19 within the nation, and summer season upon us, residents could begin to contemplate locations farther afield.

Possibly you have discovered your self eyeing Airbnb leases in Hawaii or resorts in Mexico.

However how far is it secure to go? And is it secure to journey to areas the place circumstances are surging?

The reply to that questions varies significantly, relying on whether or not you are vaccinated.


Consultants agree that in the event you’re unvaccinated, going to a vacation spot the place circumstances are rampant presents threat. Particularly in the event you’re aged or have preexisting well being situations.

“Going round with a bunch of unvaccinated youngsters is asking for bother,” stated Dr. George Rutherford, head of the division of infectious illnesses and international epidemiology at UCSF.

The Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention advises unvaccinated vacationers visiting home locations take further precautions, together with getting examined each earlier than and after a visit. The CDC recommends delaying worldwide journey till you will get totally vaccinated. (See the CDC’s full journey tips.)

For those who’ve accomplished a vaccine sequence, professional recommendation differs, with some advising extra warning than others. Dr. Monica Gandhi, a professor of medication at UCSF, says you can also make plans, even in the event you’re planning to go to a home or worldwide vacation spot the place the case price is larger than in California, such because the household seaside home in Oregon. (Oregon’s seven-day case price is 120 new circumstances per 100,000 individuals, in comparison with the Golden State with 31 new circumstances per 100,000 individuals, in response to the CDC.)

“It’s secure for vaccinated individuals to journey even to locations the place circumstances are larger as a result of they’re protected in opposition to the virus,” Gandhi stated.

She defined that your probabilities of getting COVID-19 are extraordinarily low in the event you’re immune. The most recent CDC information monitoring breakthrough infections says that out of greater than 95 million People who’re totally vaccinated in opposition to COVID-19, there have been 9,245 breakthrough circumstances (0.01%), and of these, 6,720 have been symptomatic and 835 have been hospitalized.

“Not a single breakthrough an infection so far has been reported to have transmitted to a different,” Gandhi famous.

Dr. Peter Chin-Hong, an infectious illnesses professional at UCSF, suggested extra warning and stated he would most likely forgo worldwide journey this summer season until it is important, akin to visiting a sick member of the family, as many international locations are experiencing surges or have very low vaccination charges.

“Dangers are a lot larger for unvaccinated people, with the very best stage of COVID burden on the earth proper now and with variants which might be extra simply transmissible and trigger extreme illness,” Chin-Hong wrote in an electronic mail. “Vaccinated of us ought to nonetheless take precautions when touring on the whole.”

He added that whereas home locations are nonetheless safer than worldwide locations, at this level, “context issues,” and he suggested vacationers to decide on outside actions every time attainable.

The U.S. State Division lists journey advisories on its web site for international locations across the globe, and the federal authorities advises in opposition to touring to dozens of nations as a result of pandemic, from Austria to Costa Rica. However in the end you possibly can determine whether or not to journey to a world vacation spot, whereas protecting in thoughts these are dynamic occasions amid COVID.

“Be versatile,” Chin-Hong stated. “Issues are altering in a short time on a regular basis and be prepared to alter plans nearer to the deliberate date of journey. Vacationers ought to have a look at the COVID numbers in locations just like the climate.”

Whereas the CDC website presents COVID updates for particular person states and counties, you possibly can have a look at the World Well being Group web site for the pandemic standing in international locations around the globe.

Rutherford cautioned that many locations have restrictions in place and these could hinder the benefit of your trip. Earlier than you begin to consider touring to any worldwide vacation spot, you must also seek the advice of the nation’s necessities.

“I believe you must perceive what the federal government restrictions are,” he stated. “Britain, for instance, nonetheless has a two-week quarantine.” (Word: Britain additionally permits vacationers to take a coronavirus check on day two and day eight of quarantining.)

What’s extra, Rutherford stated every scenario needs to be thought of on a case-by-case foundation.

He stated age is one issue to take into accounts, particularly with unvaccinated vacationers.

“It relies on the place you’re going and the way previous you’re,” he stated of visiting worldwide locations that will have larger case charges. “For those who’re 5 years previous (an age when you possibly can’t get vaccinated), it’s not the top of the world,” he stated. “For those who’re 90 years previous and unvaccinated, there’s no means I’d try this.”

He stated you even have to take a look at the background ranges of illness and what you may be doing.

“For those who’re going to be fly-fishing in Siberia with nobody round for 400 miles, that’s one factor,” he stated. “However in the event you’re going to the West Finish of London to see exhibits, that is one other factor. All of it needs to be personalized.”

Finally, Rutherford stated the most secure possibility is to remain in California, the place the vaccine rollout is properly underway.

“There’s a number of issues to do that summer season in California,” Rutherford stated. “That’s the place try to be trying first.”

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