Plan on traveling? Health expert provides travel tips as pandemic wanes

Posted at 3:51 PM, Jun 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-10 23:32:10-04

HAMPTON ROADS, Va. - Travel for the summer season is picking up now that states are reopening, but Dr. Bradley Harper with the Virginia Department of Health’s Peninsula Health District told News 3 the pandemic is still a reality.

“We've all been indoors for a long time, and I appreciate people's desire to get outside,” Harper said. "I'm not going to tell people how to live their lives, but I would still not recommend non-essential travel."

Airlines, for example, reported an increase in business, so if you plan on traveling, Dr. Harper is urging potential travelers to take steps to be safe.

One bit of advice Harper shared is advice repeated by health and government officials: Practice social distancing and wear a face covering.

He also provided advice on what to do depending on someone’s preferred mode of travel.

“If you have to fly, if that's the way you need to get to where you need to go,” Harper explained, “I would take wipes so you could wipe down the hand rests and your lap table."

He also suggested turning on the air vents above the seats to blow away any airborne microorganisms. He said those microorganisms, such as bacteria and viruses, will be kept from spreading due to the filtered systems on board airplanes.

He also explained what travelers should do in traveling by train.

“If you're on a train, you want to maintain social distancing, and by the way,” Dr. Harper explained, “trains are a great way to travel because you have much more control of your space."

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He added this is a benefit, as a traveler can choose to relocate on a train, whereas a passenger onboard an airplane cannot.

If you are in the process of picking a destination but not sure where to go, Dr. Harper said to avoid the following or be cautious of for the time being:

“Louisiana itself is pretty hot. Same with Georgia and Mississippi; [which] are having an increase in outbreaks right now,” Harper said. “I love San Antonio, Texas. I've lived in Texas, but I wouldn't go to the Alamo right now."

As for destinations such as New York City, which was a COVID-19 hotspot, he said right now it would be safe to travel there.

“Two days ago, I think they had their first day without death in three months,” Harper said. “New York City has been through the worst."

Dr. Harper also advised looking at the density of where you want to go to help make your choice.

“Have a great time; don't lower your guard,” Dr. Harper said.

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