As more people are vaccinated and coronavirus restrictions loosen, you may be itching to book that big trip you’ve been waiting for all pandemic. Here are some things to consider as you plan a trip or gather with loved ones.
Taking precautions can reduce your risk, but can't eliminate it. So health experts say deciding if and how to travel comes down to managing your risks. To create this quiz, we consulted doctors from Stanford and University of California, San Francisco, along with government health guidelines, for ways to assess and minimize the risk of catching or spreading COVID-19.
It should take you about 5 minutes to complete.
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While it may be impossible to eliminate all risk, health experts say taking precautions can greatly reduce the spread of COVID-19. The vaccines approved in the U.S. are highly effective at preventing coronavirus infections and preventing serious illness if you are infected with COVID-19. Studies suggest the vaccines also work well against known variants.
If you and your loved ones are fully vaccinated and committed to taking other precautions, traveling becomes less risky. Health experts say it’s up to everyone to evaluate their own risk tolerance and take steps to minimize risks before and during a trip.
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Vaccines in the U.S. are effective at preventing coronavirus infection and severe illness. The CDC recommends delaying travel until you are fully vaccinated.
Data suggest that vaccines also protect against known COVID-19 variants.
Data suggest children are not as vulnerable to COVID-19, but there is still some risk in young people, and kids can transmit the virus.
The CDC says 8 out of 10 deaths from COVID-19 have been in people age 65 or older.
Generally, the older you are, the greater your risk of severe illness from COVID-19.
People with serious medical conditions, such as diabetes, kidney disease, hypertension, obesity and chronic lung disease are at greater risk for severe illness from COVID-19.
People on immunosuppressants or chemotherapy, or with certain immune disorders, can be at a greater risk for serious illness. Vaccines may also be less effective in these groups.
Health experts say car travel is likely less risky than a flight, and most airlines are no longer leaving middle seats empty.
Health experts say traveling during busy windows can increase exposure to others and potential risk.
A negative test result reduces the probability you have the virus, even if you have some degree of immunity.
The CDC advises unvaccinated or partially vaccinated travelers to get a test before and after domestic travel. For international travel, a test is advised for all travelers three to five days after travel.
Experts say traveling locally or domestically is generally safer than longer trips or traveling abroad.
The CDC keeps an updated map of coronavirus travel recommendations by location.
Health experts say large gatherings pose a greater risk and even small gatherings can be safer if people take precautions.
The CDC says indoor spaces are more risky than outdoor ones for spreading COVID-19.
Wearing a mask can protect you from catching or spreading COVID-19. The CDC requires them on public transportation.
Wearing a mask over your mouth and nose can help you participate in activities more safely, even if you have some degree of immunity.
Health experts recommend talking through safety protocols with the people you’re visiting.
While the virus persists, health experts say to consider how your reasons for travel stack up against potential risks.