Photo: Suhyeon Choi
It’s been a long, hard fall and now Thanksgiving is coming up. Usually this holiday brings a sense of joy and normalcy, but this year it is going to look quite different.
But on the plus side, if you plan to travel and have to fly, there is some good news. Fly United—they’ve recently re-added booze to their menu.
Tripadvisor reports that over half of Americans – 56% – are planning to leave home for the holiday season even if only 11% of these intend to so by plane.
If you belong to this minority, there are a few things you may want to consider.
Before booking a flight, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends determining the health status of the people you intend on visiting, as well as the infection rate of the region you are traveling to.
Assuming you yourself are not at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19.
“Air travel requires spending time in security lines and airport terminals, which can bring you in close contact with other people and frequently touched surfaces. Most viruses and other germs do not spread easily on flights because of how air circulates and is filtered on airplanes,” the agency writes. “However, social distancing is difficult on crowded flights, and sitting within 6 feet of others, sometimes for hours, may increase your risk of getting COVID-19. Also consider how you get to and from the airport, as public transportation and ridesharing can increase your chances of being exposed to the virus.
The more cases at your destination, the more likely you are to get infected during travel and spread the virus to others when you return.”
If you feel safe enough to embark, the CDC recommends the following:
- Wear a mask to keep your nose and mouth covered when in public settings, including on public transportation and in transportation hubs such as airports and stations.
- Avoid close contact by staying at least 6 feet apart (about 2 arms’ length) from anyone who is not from your household.
- Wash your hands often or use hand sanitizer (with at least 60% alcohol).
- Avoid contact with anyone who is sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
According to a recent study from the University of Nottingham, plastic trays used at security checkpoints contain the highest levels of viruses at airports.
The researchers additionally determined that viruses live on 10% of these plastic trays, which are frequently passed around passenger lines at the hand luggage X-ray station
Sandro Cinti, M.D, who is a professor of internal medicine and infectious diseases at the University of Michigan says that passengers should avoid airplane bathrooms if they can-as they’re often a breeding ground for antigens.
“If you want to be as safe as possible, the idea would be wait till you get to a hotel room or [place] where you’re going to stay for the night,” Cinti told CNBC.
In case of emergency, reduce your risk of exposure to the novel coronvirus by limiting bathroom time to 10 minutes or less and only touching surfaces necessary to sanitation measures.
“Check state, territorial, tribal and local public health websites for information before you travel. If you are traveling internationally, check the destination’s Office of Foreign Affairs or Ministry of Health or the US Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs, Country Information pageexternal icon for details about entry requirements and restrictions for arriving travelers, such as mandatory testing or quarantine.” the CDC concludes.