Families are facing a dilemma this year. They are itching for summer vacation, but their children are not vaccinated. What to do?
The mental gymnastics involved in answering this question is exhaustive. Our decision-making is overshadowed by unanswered questions about immunity, virus mutations and summer cases.
The most conservative approach would be to wait and see how things turn out. But people are burning with blockages, and vacation spots are being sold. At this moment we really want to know. What can we do this summer?
So we asked epidemiologists and other public health experts, who are a very careful group, what they plan to do for their summer vacation. Here are some flights:
First find out what makes you feel safe.
Does the thought of boarding a plane make you sad? Or are you itching to be 35,000 feet in the air? According to experts, every family should figure out its appetite for risk.
In an interview with President Joe Biden COVID-19 Chief Medical Advisor Joe Biden on Monday, Dr. Anthony Fausi said he hoped to have a “small family reunion” with his adult daughters in the summer, when everyone was vaccinated, “if the situation calms down as I think they will do it. “
“I have not seen one of them for more than a year. Others I haven’t seen in almost a year. “I think that will be my big plan in July,” Fauci said.
Even among experts, there is some uncertainty about the summer.
Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center chief epidemiologist Enn Enzer Nuzo plans to return home with his family this year, although they have been reluctant to choose a location as they gather information on how localization could more or less affect the risk.
In his “impact budget”, he said he prioritizes risks that clearly benefit the health and development of children aged 4 և 7, such as family visits.
The health of your family members is also very important.
“We are very conservative in terms of our level of risk,” said Tara S., a professor of epidemiology at Kent State University College of Public Health in Ohio. Smith, who is on vacation with younger relatives who have not yet been vaccinated, has health conditions.
It is not clear why some children get COVID and others do not, he said, adding that the possibility of COVID infection “is not something I want to do just because we tried to go and have fun.”
After weighing the options, he and his family decided to leave the country and stay in a hotel near the beach, which will not be crowded with visitors.
If you are still trying to figure out what kind of risks you are willing to take, an online risk calculator can help.
It is safe to travel.
Although the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has spent most of the year discouraging trivial travel to prevent further transmission of the virus, the agency recently announced that fully vaccinated people can now travel safely on mass transportation, including to the United States.
But at a White House press conference announcing the new guide, CDC officials said they preferred people to avoid travel because of rising coronavirus cases, even though home travel was considered a “low risk” for those who were fully vaccinated. Most of the experts we spoke to plan to drive to their destinations, in part because their children are not vaccinated.
Sadi Costello, an environmental epidemiologist at the University of California School of Public Health, plans two trips: a hiking trip with friends where adults are vaccinated and children not, and a family trip to a rented vacation home with a private pool.
“It’s a balance between COVID safety and mental health,” said Costello, who has two children between the ages of 10 and 14. If your family decides to fly, take precautions to reduce the risk of infection. When traveling, make sure all 2 և members in your group wear a mask, stay 6 feet away from people outside your home, avoid crowds և Wash your hands often or use a hand sanitizer.
The CDC recommends that all unvaccinated people take the COVID test one to three days before any trip երեք three to five days before completing it again. According to the agency, they must quarantine themselves within seven days after the trip if they are tested, and within 10 days if they do not receive it.
Shorter flights, where passengers remove less masks for snacks or drinks, are likely to be safer, experts say.
“Several cases of documented transfers by planes were long-haul flights,” says Dr. Arthur L. Ringold, Head of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, University of California, Berkeley.
The experts we spoke to are not going abroad, in part because of the growing number of cases in many parts of the world, խիստ because there are strict protocols for entry into the United States.
Where should you stay?
You do not have to choose your hometown, camp or rent a house with a private pool, as you could last year, although these are all good, low-risk options. Hotels and resorts can also be safe for the family, provided you ask yourself a crucial question. Can you take the right precautions և keep your distance from ընտանիքի other family և while you are there?
“Think of different places in or around the hotel where you or your family are more likely to become infected,” said Abrar Karan, an internal medicine physician at Brigham’s Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School.
It could be a crowded elevator, an indoor restaurant or a lobby. “If you travel with people who are not fully vaccinated, try to avoid those areas as much as possible,” he said.
Whitney R. Robinson, an associate professor of epidemiology at the Gillings School of Public Health at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, hopes to spend a summer vacation in South Carolina with relatives he has not seen in more than a year, provided case numbers are low.
During the Plans trip, he plans to focus mainly on outdoor activities, saying that he և his children, who are 2 և 6 years old, will avoid indoor meals or long meals.
But Robinson has already started imagining other possible scenarios. For example, if it rains, they can gather inside, but they will open all the windows. “When I am closed, I will try to wear masks, to make my children wear masks,” he said.
If you are in a resort, you plan to use a children’s club that provides child care, organized activities, then ask a lot of questions in advance, experts advise. Ideally, you would like children to wear masks, play in small groups at least 6 feet apart, and spend most of their time outdoors.
“It’s like a school environment, but with a big difference, it brings together people from completely different networks around the world,” Robinson said. “It will be ‘no’ for me personally.”
Do you need masks while relaxing outside?
If you are outside in a crowded place where your family can not walk 6 feet away from people outside your home, wearing a mask is still a good idea for your children, even if you are fully vaccinated.
But if you are outside և you can stay away from other people, the risk of infection is very low, if you choose not to wear a mask outside, whether vaccinated or not, experts say.
“If you are outside more than 6 feet away from someone, I do not think your mask will make that much of a difference at that point, because the risk is already so low,” said Kara.
“The pool is a question mark,” Smith said, adding that he will spend most of his vacation on the beach. “If it’s very crowded, we will not interfere.”
What if you had to change your mind?
All the experts we spoke to said that you need to be prepared for key situations if infections are on the rise.
“The forces may lead to greater constraints, which may be local or more widespread, may affect mass transit,” said Karen Edwards, chair of the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the University of California, Irvine.
“If you are traveling on a flight that includes flights to certain destinations, including international destinations, I will be ready to change those plans և to have a backup option that will still give you ընտանի your family a much needed break և a change of scenery. he added.
Nuzo agreed that everyone should be aware of the possibility of a fourth wave, but he remained optimistic.
“My mental image this summer is that we will be in a much better place than we are now,” he said.