Traveling for Thanksgiving is probably safe, but people need to know their ‘individual risk’

The 2021 holiday season will be the first time millions of Americans have traveled in nearly two years.

With a large number of festivities canceled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many will be eager to return home this year to see their families for Thanksgiving.

The pandemic isn’t quite over, though, with an average of 1,000 Americans still dying from the virus every day and daily cases rising nationwide.

Experts believe that people can travel safely for Thanksgiving, but they need to understand that they are taking a risk and should take simple steps to protect themselves.

Advice includes wearing a well-fitting mask when traveling and wiping seats before sitting on planes and trains.

Millions of Americans will be traveling this holiday season for the first time in nearly two years, and experts say it can be done safely with a few precautions. One expert says people should identify their ‘individual risk’ before going on vacation. Pictured: Travelers at Los Angeles International Airport in California

Experts recommend travelers bring a well-fitting N95 mask when traveling and wipe their seats before sitting on a plane or train.  Pictured: People ride the subway in New York City, New York

Experts recommend travelers bring a well-fitting N95 mask when traveling and wipe their seats before sitting on a plane or train. Pictured: People ride the subway in New York City, New York

dr. Michael Blaivas, the chief medical officer of Anavasi Diagnostics, a Seattle, Washington-based biotechnology company, told DailyMail.com that people who travel or gather for the holidays should assess their “individual risk” and decide what to do.

“It’s an individualized question,” Blaivas said.

‘[It] depends on who you are, where you go and where you return.’

Factors to consider are personal health, Covid situation in a person’s area, Covid situation in the area a person travels to and the situations in places other people come in contact with.

For example, a healthy 20-year-old traveling from one area of ​​low Covid transmission to another shouldn’t have much to worry about.

But an elderly person who is immunocompromised and travels to an area of ​​high transmission could be at serious risk of hospitalization or death from the virus if they travel.

Blaivas said those organizing meetings should talk to the people who plan to attend and find out what their level of risk is.

“It’s probably good to have an open discussion beforehand about people’s individual risk,” he said.

“Maybe you can have everyone tested if they’re comfortable with it, especially if people come from an area with a high transmission rate.”

But above all, Blaivas recommends that people get vaccinated to protect themselves and their families from the virus.

“When you’re vaccinated, those chances are really adjusted for everyone,” he said.

Just traveling to a meeting can be risky for some.

An expert says, despite potential risks, 'we all deserve' to enjoy the holidays this year after the pandemic stole it from many last year (file photo)

An expert says, despite potential risks, ‘we all deserve’ to enjoy the holidays this year after the pandemic stole it from many last year (file photo)

Millions of Americans will board planes and trains this week for holiday festivities.

That means you’ll be stuck in a crowded area of ​​unknown people for an extended period of time – who could be actively carrying the virus.

A person traveling is also surrounded by people in narrow spaces at the airport and train station, increasing the risk of transmission of Covid.

Above all, Blaivas advises people to protect themselves and not assume that others are taking precautions.

“Take responsibility to protect yourself. Don’t think anyone is going to do it for you,” he said.

He also suggests that people wipe their seats when boarding, and do a quick COVID-19 test before traveling just to be safe.

dr. Pavitra Roychoudhury, an infectious disease expert from the University of Washington, said a well-fitting N95 mask is a must-have for people traveling this holiday season.

She also advises eligible people to get their booster shot as soon as possible.

There are also actions a host can take to protect their family and friends during gatherings.

‘What level of protection do? [hosts] do you want to guarantee?’ she said.

“Do they want to test everyone before they come in? Do they want to ask for your vaccination status? Do they want everyone inside masked?’

“It really depends on how much the host wants to protect itself.

Roychoudhury said many will likely feel comfortable hosting these types of gatherings with limited restrictions, especially so deep in the pandemic.

“I think a lot of people just feel comfortable hosting exposed, small gatherings with their friends and family that they know are at a similar risk,” she said.

While that carries an inherent risk, Roychoudhury believes the nation is in a better position this year than it was last year, and it should be a good thing to do.

Because the vaccine is safe and effective, and booster shots are now available to the most vulnerable Americans, much of the risk has been eliminated.

“I think if you’re vaccinated, getting together with other vaccinated people means your risk is relatively low,” she said.

“I think it’s good not to be completely wary, but I think it’s possible to socialize with family and friends.

“And I think we all deserve it, especially those who have worked really hard for so long to keep ourselves and our families safe.”

.