When coronavirus vaccines are spread across the country, many Americans seem to be surprised. “Can I travel after being vaccinated?”
According to a recent AAA survey, 45 million Americans plan to go on a family trip this spring. And for 11 days in a row, the Department of Transportation Security registered more than 1 million people passing through the airport security checkpoints.
But even if at least 82.8 million people have received one or two doses of the vaccine, we are still a long way from the end of the epidemic or the real return of travel.
Disease Control and Prevention Centers still warn against trivial travel, even for those who have been vaccinated. Speaking to reporters last week, CDC Director Rochelle Valensky said officials were concerned about travelers leaving their guard and warned that the United States could face another wave of coronavirus with calm precautions.
As we enter the second year of the epidemic, in 2020 the question that torments travelers returns again. If we travel, is it safer to fly or drive?
When we first asked the experts last year, it was clear that hitting the road was the preference. But in the middle of the vaccination era, that mood can change. Here’s what six infectious disease doctors told us.
The infectious disease specialist says both methods are still at risk
Because only 12% of the US population (փոքր substantially smaller in the world) has been vaccinated so far, the coronavirus remains a global risk to others, no matter how you travel, says Krutika Kuppalli, a medical infectious disease specialist. University of South Carolina.
“We want to protect people who are not vaccinated from sore throats,” he said.
Kupalli says that between “flying” during an epidemic, his suggestion depends on how far the traveler is. Flying will keep you in close contact with strangers for a long time. But if you have a long way to go through areas with high levels of infection, the flight may eventually be safer.
For any mode of transportation, Kupalli urges vaccinated travelers to follow the standard precautions of wearing a mask and social distance, even if they feel protected.
The infectious disease doctor says that the flight is not as dangerous as we thought last year.
Paul Sachs, clinical director at the Infectious Diseases Department at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, says that while he still understands why the CDC still advises people to avoid traveling, he thinks it is worth remembering that flying is not as dangerous as we are. was worried from the beginning.
“When compared to some other activities that people do quite regularly, such as visiting restaurants or even places of worship, the flight is not so bad because there is a lot of ventilation during the flight,” he says. “During the flight, most people wear masks, do not speak, do not sing, do not shout.”
Sachs advises vaccinated travelers who are at high risk for serious coronavirus cases, such as the elderly or those with co-morbidities, to add eye protection with glasses or a face shield to their travel PPE.
The chair of the medical school says that flying is more variable than driving.
Kaiser Permanent Bernard J .. Paul Chung, Head of the Department of Health Systems at Tyson Medical School, says traveling by car is less variable than flying, where you are more likely to have an uncontrollable environment.
“But you can definitely put yourself in a situation where it’s worse than flying,” says Chung, referring to risks such as traveling in a crowded car with unvaccinated people.
“Going to a fairly empty airport, a fairly empty plane, straight to your friend’s house to stay inside, is a completely different risk profile than someone going to be in the middle of LAX, flying in a fully packed plane to a giant festival. »
When deciding whether to fly or drive, travelers need to think about how many people they will contact along the way, taking into account the risks associated with it, remembering that “it’s not just about risks for yourself, it’s really about risks for others.” : “Chung says. “You do not know how long you are still in the probable vector of the virus, even though you are vaccinated.”
A senior public health scientist says the flight should be safe this summer.
Tara Kirk Cell, a senior fellow at the Ara on Hopkins Center for Health Safety, recently calculated the risks of flying overseas for her family, who needed to move from Baltimore to Washington this month. He took into account the risks of coronavirus, as well as major road trips (such as car accidents), and eventually chose to fly.
“For a vaccinated person, of course, I think flying is probably safer than traveling at an intersection,” says Cell.
However, Sell advises postponing vacation planning until the end of the year to avoid trivial trips at this time, citing the possibility of spreading the virus to unvaccinated people.
“Right now, the CDC is still saying that travel is not recommended because there are so many cases,” he said. “But I look forward to this summer, as cases are declining, vaccinations are rising, I think it is safe to fly.”
The academic doctor and the author are assured of the safety of the aircraft.
Robert Wachter, Chair of Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco և A guest on the Bubble podcast, says staying in your car is as safe as being at home.
“If you enjoy shopping, it’s not clear to me what a road trip will be like,” he says.
Vakhter realizes that despite the spread of coronavirus on the flights, “the planes were generally quite safe during COVID,” he said. “I’m pretty sure about flying as a general mode.”
But he identifies the dinner service as a special danger while on the ship.
Two factors made him feel recently while flying to see his vaccinated parents. Vaccination in January իմ Knowledge of the prevalence of coronavirus is declining. The part of the flight that Vakhter is afraid of is dinner, when the passengers remove the masks, he advises to eat or drink fast on the flights, while the others are in disguise.
Critical medicine experts believe that driving still wins over flying.
Cleveland Clinic Critical Medicine Specialist Joseph Ozeb Khabbaz says he believes driving will always be a lower risk option because you will be better able to avoid strangers.
“Stopping at a resort or hotel or eating a piece of food on a long trip, they are not really going to make a lasting connection with people you know,” he says.
Khabbazan says that although he calms down the ventilation of the plane, he says that those who prefer to fly should take extra precautions, such as wearing a face shield, and booking low-volume flights at low altitudes.
“I have always said that you will never regret being extremely careful during this epidemic,” he said. “All I see and hear is the regret and guilt of people who may have lost control or deviated from their usual precautions.”