Planes, Trains, And Covid 19! Travel Tips For A Safe And Healthy Holiday Season
Yes! It's THAT time of year again: family time, turkey time, and travel time. So nobody’s got time to get sick with covid, the flu, strep, or any other plan-wrecking pathogens. Though we may aspire to be super dads, super moms, super siblings, or just super awesome, we definitely don’t want to be the super spreader of the family.
Since the beginning of the covid-19 pandemic, holiday gatherings have been canceled or cut short. There are some people who haven't seen some members of their families since early 2020. Over 2 ½ years later, many of us still worry about how to travel safely, or whether to travel at all. Yet, it’s hard to accept that we even missed those awkward hugs from distant relatives. The ones we see every once in a while. Then the question becomes: How can we minimize the risks of travel? Let’s go over everything together.
Catching Up With Covid-19: The Latest (And Not Greatest) News About Our Least Favorite Holiday Guest
Unfortunately, Covid is not over yet. According to the World Health Organization and other health experts, we are still very much in the midst of a pandemic, even though government leaders are eager to declare the Covid-19 health crisis has reached an endemic status. The US and the rest of the world still experience significant infection rates and deaths.
According to the CDC, the current 7-day average of new covid cases in the US is around 39k.
There are multiple super stealth sub-variants of Omicron making the scene. Two in particular- BQ.1 + BQ.1.1 seem to be undeterred by vaccines or prior infections. Immunity evasion can mean higher rates of transmission, which means we could be in for a winter surge. These new variants are now responsible for around 44% of new infections nationwide and up to 60% in certain regions.
Don’t get down about the vaccines!
Health experts continue to encourage us to get the latest bivalent boosters, which are the first to target the Omicron variant.
Leavin’ On A Jet Plane? modMD’s Guide To Pre-Travel Covid-19 Testing
Testing requirements for travel have decreased in the last year, and many airlines and destinations are no longer requiring proof of a negative covid-19 test. This may seem like one less thing to have to do before leaving on holiday, but modMD’s physicians Drs. Lisa and Naomi Dabby, are saying that regardless of what is required (or not required), we should be making Covid-19 testing a priority this season.
We have seen that one of the best ways to make sure that no one brings covid home for the holidays, is to test, test, test.
But I’ve been vaxxed and boosted! Do I still need to test?
Vaccines have been very effective in helping to slow the spread of Covid. They can help decrease the severity of symptoms and prevent hospitalizations and death, but that does not guarantee immunity to the virus. We have seen many cases of breakthrough infections throughout the US and abroad. Unfortunately, it is still possible to contract and spread Covid-19 even if you are fully vaccinated.
Be a superhero, not a super spreader. Test for covid-19 before, during, and after your trip.
Which Covid-19 Test Is The Best? Testing 1…2…3…
#1: RT- PCR
This is the most sensitive test and provides the most reliable results especially if you do not have any symptoms.
A large percentage of covid transmission (upwards of 60%) comes from asymptomatic or presymptomatic carriers.
What exactly is an RT- PCR test?
RT-PCR stands for Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction.
Test samples can be collected from a nasal swab, oral swab, or a saliva ‘spit test’.
RT-PCR is one example of a NAAT test (Nucleic Acid Amplification Test).
The collected sample is then processed in a laboratory to detect the presence of the SARS-Cov-2 Virus.
A PCR test can detect even a small amount of this virus present in the body, making it the most sensitive and accurate test to determine whether you are infected.
These tests are considered to be 99% accurate in determining the presence or absence of viral infection.
The turnaround time for these tests can be anywhere from 6 hours to 5 days, depending on the lab, so make sure to plan ahead before any travel plans.**
**If you live in the Los Angeles area and If you’ve left testing to the last minute, never fear! ModMD offers walk-up/drive-through covid testing with same-day PCR results in 6-12 hours.
If you are in the Atlanta or New York areas, we offer concierge testing with the same 6-12 hour turnaround time!**