2019 Novel Coronavirus: Should You Travel Within the United States?
…and because traveling internationally is virtually impossible — if not recommended — perhaps a trip within the United States is in order until this situation is eventually mitigated or dissipates altogether.
…or maybe not so fast.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention does not generally issue advisories or restrictions for travel within the United States — but as confirmed cases of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus have been reported in all 50 states, some areas of the country are experiencing “community spread of the disease.”
Finding yourself in crowded travel settings — such as airports or restaurants — may increase your chances of being infected with the 2019 Novel Coronavirus, if other people within your vicinity have already been infected.
Is the 2019 Novel Coronavirus spreading in the area at or near your destination?
If the 2019 Novel Coronavirus is spreading in the area at or near your destination — but not where you live — you may be more likely to get infected if you travel there than if you stay home. If you have questions about your destination, you should check the Internet web site of the local health department at your destination for additional information.
Will you or your travel companion be in close contact with other people during your trip?
Your risk of exposure to respiratory viruses like coronavirus may increase in crowded settings — particularly closed-in settings with little air circulation — which may include conferences, public events such as concerts and sporting events, religious gatherings, public spaces such as movie theaters and shopping malls, and public transportation such as buses, subways, trains, and airplanes.
Do you have a plan for taking time off from work or school in case you are told to stay home for 14 days for monitoring yourself or if you get sick with 2019 Novel Coronavirus?
If you have close contact with someone with 2019 Novel Coronavirus during travel, you may be asked to stay home to monitor yourself and avoid contact with others for up to 14 days after travel. If you become sick with 2019 Novel Coronavirus, you may be unable to go to work or school until you are considered noninfectious — although the buildings of many workplaces and most schools are closed anyway. You will be asked to avoid contact with others — including being in public places — during this period of infectiousness.
Do you live with someone who is older or has a serious, chronic medical condition?
If you get sick with 2019 Novel Coronavirus upon your return from travel, your household contacts may be at risk of infection. Household contacts who are older adults or persons of any age with severe chronic medical conditions are at higher risk for severe illness from 2019 Novel Coronavirus.
Is 2019 Novel Coronavirus spreading where I live when I return from travel? Consider the risk of passing 2019 Novel Coronavirus to others during travel — particularly if you will be in close contact with people who are older adults or have severe chronic health condition — as these people are at higher risk of getting very sick. If your symptoms are mild or you do not have a fever, you may not realize you are infectious.
If you do decide to travel within the United States, ensure that you take steps to help prevent getting and spreading 2019 Novel Coronavirus — and other respiratory diseases, for that matter — during travel. Otherwise, you may choose to delay or cancel your plans to travel — but that depends solely on your unique circumstances.