Airplanes are the riskiest form of travel during the pandemic, but it can be safer if people follow some safety and distancing guidelines.
As the pandemic progresses and more and more people get vaccinated, airlines and airports have started reporting a consistent increase in traffic. It’s inevitable; the more the vaccine is within reach, the more excitement is felt throughout the country, with people disregarding their previously held safety measures due to a combination of pandemic fatigue and positivism.
With states loosening up on restrictions and allowing for more gatherings of people, is it safe to travel on an airplane? Answers depend on your individual circumstances.
While a lot has been said about airplanes and airports, what truly matters is what people do once they get to their destination. While it’s safer to travel by car (with members of your household), airlines have adopted different safety measures in order to keep the risk of exposure to the minimum. If you wear the correct face masks and try your best to maintain six feet of distance from others, you’ll be following the CDC’s guidelines. Still, there’s no way of eliminating the risk when exposed to different people.
The ideal scenario for air travel is if people quarantine before traveling, test themselves, and, once they arrive at their destination, stay in one place.
“That’s low risk, and there are ways for unvaccinated people to still do that safely. For example, they can quarantine and get tested prior to the trip,” said CNN medical analyst Dr. Leana Wen.
The big risk for traveling occurs during this time of the year, spring break, where people are traveling for tourism. High risk activities like hanging out in bars and restaurants with friends and strangers are what results in super spreader events, especially if you were to take this indoors; the fact that all of these bars, clubs and restaurants are open doesn’t mean they’re safe.
While hanging out at the beach following safety guidelines is low risk, the problem starts once people get comfortable, take off their masks, have a drink or two and start interacting with others, which is a common occurrence when traveling for tourism.
People who’ve had their vaccines are the safest options for traveling, especially if they’re traveling or gathering with people who’ve also been vaccinated. Regardless, no matter whether you’re vaccinated or not, it’s important to follow the CDC’s guidelines and to try your best to stay informed and to have some common sense. It’s one thing to have a drink in a bar with almost no people, and another to have a drink in a bar mid-spring break.