COVID-19 raises questions on safety of holiday travel

Michael Kaegi, News Editor

As COVID-19 begins to spread rapidly all over the United States, people are questioning whether or not it will be safe to travel this holiday season to see their friends and family.

Over the past few weeks, COVID-19 cases have begun to surge, mainly in the midwest and east coast, leaving a lot of people unsure whether or not they should travel to see their families. However, more people are traveling now then they were in March, with only an eight percent decrease since last year around this time. This has left some people wondering if they should risk being exposed to the virus.

“I go to Oregon every summer to see some of my family, and also Georgia, but both trips got cancelled,” said Kate Rigberg, a senior who was unable to travel this year.

Contrary to what many people believe, it can be difficult to contract the virus on an airplane if the right safety protocols are followed. Many of the airlines have been doing their part to enforce masks and socially distance each person as much as possible.

“I would feel comfortable traveling on an airplane as long as all the safety guidelines are followed,” said Jared Le Tourneur, a senior.

According to the Mayo Clinic Travel Visitor Page, which adheres to the CDC guidelines, infection risk on an airline is relatively low, because of the circulate air that continuously flows throughout the cabin. However, in order to stay as safe as possible, it is recommended to minimize contact with other people, wash your hands for at least 20 seconds, and have close access to hand sanitizer.

“As much as I enjoy traveling for the holidays, I want to keep me and my family safe this year,” said Julie Binnicker, an English teacher.

Internationally, many countries have restrictions on anyone from the United States being able to visit, or require a 14 day quarantine period before being allowed to go out. The United States has also put similar bans on certain countries such as China, going all the way back to January.

“I try my best to keep my hands clean and wear my mask, and also social distance, but as long as everyone is doing that, we should be ok,” said Rigberg.

As the holiday season continues to approach, COVID-19 cases are continuing to surge, inevitably leaving empty tables and families separated from each other.