As summer draws to an end, the highly contagious delta variant of SARS-CoV-2, which is now the dominant strain in the U.S., is prompting questions about everything from when it will be safe to return to the office to how to keep children safe in schools.
On Tuesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention changed its guidelines for fully vaccinated people, advising that they wear masks indoors in areas of the country where there are high or substantial rates of infection.
“We are dealing with a different virus now,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, White House chief medical advisor, said about the delta variant in an interview with NPR on Tuesday.
So is it even safe to travel? The answer completely depends upon your own individual circumstances.
Here are some questions you might have approaching summer travel plans:
Are vaccinated people safe to travel?
Be warned: no travel is completely safe, and how safe it is depends on individual circumstances.
Firstly, make sure that every person in your travel party who is eligible is fully vaccinated, including all adults. The CDC recommends that you delay travel until you are fully vaccinated.
Rules for unvaccinated people who need to travel are more stringent: The CDC says unvaccinated people should get tested one to three days before traveling and again three to five days after returning, plus quarantine for seven days upon returning home.
Both the vaccinated and unvaccinated should wear masks on planes, buses, trains and other forms of public transportation, as well as inside transportation hubs such as airports and stations, whilst everyone should monitor for symptoms.
Can I take my young kids with me?
Travel is tricky for families with young children, because vaccines are not yet available for children under 12, however, if they are old enough to wear masks on public transport, they really should, the CDC recommends.
You can also protect your kids by driving in cars versus flying on planes and stick to outdoor activities at your destination, they suggest.
Is it OK to fly?
Planes are a riskier mode of transportation, because you’re inside and close to many other people whose vaccination status will be unknown to you. At the very least, make sure that you yourself are fully vaccinated before getting on an airplane.
Experts say you should also be careful while at the airport, where it’s more crowded and mask-wearing may not be closely monitored by staff.
How do I know how bad Covid is at any given destination?
Let’s be clear: no destination is currently zero-risk.
Familiarizing yourself with the transmission rate at your given destination is just one factor that can help you consider the overall risk for your trip. For example, if you’re going to a part of the United States that the CDC has classified as substantial or high risk, you’ll need to wear masks in public indoor settings whether you’re vaccinated or not. Some places now have mask mandates.
The CDC has a map that shows you the level of community transmission by county. You can also check the state or local health department’s website for specific information about your destination.
The CDC suggests that you refer to its travel recommendations by destination before traveling internationally.
Exactly. What about traveling outside overseas?
Certain countries still don’t have as much access to Covid vaccines as the U.S. or Canada, so you may be traveling to places where there’s far less people vaccinated than in North America.
Additionally rules and regulations are shifting as situations change around the world.
On Wednesday, the U.K. announced that travelers from the U.S. and E.U. no longer have to quarantine upon arrival to England or Scotland. And Canada will allow fully-vaccinated Americans to start entering the country starting Aug. 9, for the first time since March 2020.
Testing requirements, stay-at-home orders and quarantine requirements also vary from place to place.
Another thing to keep in mind if you leave the country: The CDC requires any passengers coming to the U.S. to have a negative Covid test result (or documentation showing you’ve recovered from Covid) before they board a flight to the U.S.
By CEO Staff