The Centers for Disease Control currently recommends avoiding all nonessential international travel because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Here are some frequently asked questions about travel:
• What is the risk of getting COVID-19 on an airplane?
Because of how air circulates and is filtered on airplanes, most viruses and other germs do not spread easily. Although the risk of infection on an airplane is low, try to avoid contact with sick passengers, avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands, and wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
• Should I go on a cruise?
CDC recommends that all travelers defer all cruise ship travel worldwide. Recent reports of COVID-19 on cruise ships highlight the risk of infection to cruise ship passengers and crew. Like many other viruses, COVID-19 appears to spread more easily between people in close quarters aboard ships.
• What about domestic travel? Is it safe to travel to visit family or friends?
CDC recommends you stay home as much as possible and practice social distancing. Traveling to visit friends and family increases your chances of getting and spreading COVID-19. It is possible for someone to have COVID-19 and spread it to others, even if they have no symptoms. Getting infected may be especially dangerous if you or your loved ones are at higher risk for severe complications from COVID-19. People at higher risk for complications need to take extra precautions.
Although it can be hard to remain apart from loved ones during challenging or stressful times, try to connect with them in other ways, using video chats or phone calls.
• Is it safe to travel to campgrounds or go camping?
CDC recommends you stay home as much as possible and avoid close contact, especially if you are at higher risk of severe illness. Going camping at a time when much of the United States is experiencing community spread of COVID-19 can pose a risk to you if you come in close contact with others or share public facilities at campsites or along the trails. This is because it is possible for someone to have COVID-19 and spread it to others, even if they have no symptoms. Exposure may be especially unsafe if you are at higher risk for severe complications from COVID-19 and are planning to be in remote areas, far away from medical care. Also be aware that many local, state, and national public parks have been temporarily closed due to COVID-19.
How to protect yourself and others
There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus.
The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person
- Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
- Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks.
• Wash your hands often - Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
• Avoid close contact - Put distance between yourself and other people outside of your home. Remember that some people without symptoms may be able to spread virus. Do not gather in groups. Stay out of crowded places and avoid mass gatherings.
• Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover when around others - You could spread COVID-19 to others even if you do not feel sick. Everyone should wear a cloth face cover when they have to go out in public, for example to the grocery store or to pick up other necessities. Cloth face coverings should not be placed on young children under age 2, anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance. The cloth face cover is meant to protect other people in case you are infected.
• Cover coughs and sneezes
• Clean and disinfect - Clean AND disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.
If surfaces are dirty, clean them. Use detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection.
Then, use a household disinfectant. Most common EPA-registered household disinfectants will work.