People ask me how the Wuhan Coronavirus affects the way I travel. Will I cancel travel because of the Coronavirus? Here’s the truth about how Coronavirus affects me as a traveler and how I use the Wuhan Coronavirus tracker.
Should I cancel travel because of the Wuhan Coronavirus?
This weekend at a party someone said, “The Wuhan Coronavirus has spread to Hawaii now.” I checked my Coronavirus COVID-19 Global Cases tracker by Johns Hopkins and saw nothing to back up that report.*
“Will they cancel our conference in Sicily?” lamented a fellow travel blogger on the conference’s Facebook page. Should we cancel travel because of the Coronavirus?
“I’m pressing on, regardless,” I replied. Nevertheless, I checked the Johns Hopkins tracker to monitor the situation in Italy.
Should I wear a mask?
“Should I wear a mask?” I wondered boarding a flight from Minneapolis to Phoenix on January 27. “I don’t want to scare other passengers, but I want to keep myself safe.” At that point, I knew nothing about the Johns Hopkins website coronavirus tracker. Did others cancel travel because of the Coronavirus? The plane did not seem full.
That week at Bible study in Munds Park, another stated, “The Wuhan Coronavirus affects the very young and old.” “Not, really,” I replied. “That’s true for regular flu viruses, but not this one. You probably heard that early on from journalists who hadn’t done their fact-checking.”
The fact is, we’re all talking about the Wuhan Coronavirus and wondering how it will affect travel. We’re pondering, “Should I cancel travel because of the Coronavirus?”
High-profile Traveler Johnny Jet Cancels RTW Trip
After asking his website and Facebook followers, “Should I cancel my trip to Asia?” travel expert Johnny Jet was ‘shocked’ by how many recommended canceling the trip. “Some of the comments were coming from big-time travelers, including executives of Asian airlines,” revealed the high-profile traveler. He canceled his RTW (Round The World) trip “for a number of reasons but primarily to protect my loved ones.”
You Can Track the Spread of Wuhan Coronavirus
In a few weeks, I’ll be boarding a plane for Milan and Sicily—that blogger conference mentioned earlier. I’m trying to get all the info I can about the Wuhan Coronavirus before I go. I’m using the fantastic tool that Johnny Jet shared with me: a website with mapping that allows us to see where the Wuhan Coronavirus has spread. You, too, can track the spread of the Wuhan coronavirus with this tool provided by Johns Hopkins University.
Wear the mask, already!
I ended up wearing the mask on the Minneapolis to Phoenix flight and my final leg into Flagstaff. But as it turned out, a stomach bug hit me by the time we landed in Flagstaff. Since you typically have the virus before showing symptoms, I had been contagious when I put the mask on.
Consequently, I was protecting others from my germs rather than the other way around. The blessings of irony! Fortunately for me, it was a 48-hour (or so) stomach flu.
Why are we so concerned about Wuhan Coronavirus?
Some of us are concerned about the Wuhan coronavirus because other flu epidemics have affected our friends or family members. The 1918 Pandemic Flu, also known as the Spanish Flu, killed 50 million people. My great aunt, Mabel Silverness Esterson, was one of them. Mabel, a mother of two toddlers, was only 25 years old when she died of influenza in Minnesota. The 1918 Flu hit young and middle-aged adults (aged 20-50) as the Wuhan Coronavirus is doing today.
In a CNN interview, former FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb explained that middle-aged patients have a healthy immune response, but it’s the response to the flu that makes them sick. Release of cytokine, part of the healthy immune response, increases inflammation (to prevent the spread of infection in the body) and it’s that inflammation which makes people sick.
According to what China reported this week, only 2% of Wuhan coronavirus cases are under the age of 20. 60% of cases are aged 30-60, but most deaths are in people over 60, explained Dr. Gottlieb in an interview today. “What you’re seeing is a rather unusual age distribution,” he said.
So what? The flu kills every year – this Coronavirus outbreak is no big deal – or IS it?
The other thing I hear at parties and gatherings, “So what? The flu kills every year – this Corona outbreak is no big deal.” However, coronavirus is more transmissible and looks to have a higher case mortality rate than the typical flu. We’re still early in the event, say the health experts, and we will know more in the days ahead.
Scientists in Flagstaff are working on a coronavirus test that health experts could use to diagnose the disease. TGen (Translational Genomics Research Institute), a biotech company in my neighborhood is working to be part of the solution.
How does Wuhan Coronavirus Affect the Way that I Travel?
So how will coronavirus affect the way that I travel? First, I wash my hands more frequently. I bring hand sanitizer with me and wipe down the tray table at my airplane seat. It’s said that the tray is one of the most germ-bearing pieces of equipment on a plane.
Next, covering my mouth with the inside of my elbow when I cough or sneeze is mandatory. That’s why I now carry a mask with me. Some say they are not so beneficial, but if I get stuck next to someone who is hacking without covering their mouth, I’ll put it on. That will make me feel better and give me compassion for the cougher.
As further prevention, I’m also taking a double dose of the turmeric that I take every day, trying to get more sleep and simply distancing myself from sick people when I can.
I’m also watching my Johns Hopkins Coronavirus COVID-19 Global Cases tracker. Here’s the whole thing in a nutshell:
- Wash hands frequently
- Tote hand sanitizer
- Wipe down tray tables
- Cover mouth with an inner elbow when coughing or sneezing
- Carry a hygienic mask
- Double dose of turmeric
- Social distancing
- Watch Johns Hopkins Coronavirus COVID-19 Global Cases tracker.
I encourage people to travel, and events like the potential Wuhan Coronavirus pandemic are further reasons to go while we can. “Today the world is relatively wide open for travel,” I’ve been known to urge. “We don’t know what tomorrow could bring. We need to travel now while we can.”
The Wuhan coronavirus has not stopped me from traveling. I am UNSTOPPABLE, afterall. However, I’m not planning to travel to Asia now, but I will weigh the risks as opportunities arise.
*Although there are no Coronavirus cases in Hawaii at present, the New York Times reported that Japanese medical experts confirmed that a man and woman in Japan have the virus after the couple returned from vacationing in Hawaii.
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