Travel During COVID-19: Should We Stay or Should We Go?

Travel During COVID-19: Should We Stay or Should We Go?
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The temperature’s dropping. The wind is whipping. It’s time for my wife, Laura, and me to head south, leaving cold, uncomfortable Maryland for the welcoming warmth of southwest Florida. Or is it?

Though I once swore I’d never become a snowbird, a few years ago, we spent a week on Florida’s Gulf Coast, where friends had just bought a condo. Before long, we’d spent four winters there and then bought our own condo. I’ve become my parents.

But this year is different. COVID-19 has us wondering if we should or shouldn’t head south in a few weeks.

Pluses and minuses

There’s no doubt in my mind that I feel better in Florida. Last December, we arrived after I had a bad upper respiratory infection. The minute I stepped out of our car, my body felt better. Really! In Florida, it’s June in January. I can swim outdoors, and eating outside is the rule, rather than the exception. Laura and I have a condo we haven’t yet slept in. Florida is a powerful magnet.

But we’re too old to drive 18 hours straight, and that means an overnight stay in one of the hotels along I-95. Our room at the TownePlace Suites was clean on our Florida to Maryland trip back in June, and we wiped it down thoroughly ourselves. But things seem worse now. There are also those roadside rest stops, and with an MS bladder, there are a lot of those stops to make, which is a concern.

There’s something else. Our doctors are all here in the Washington, D.C. area, including our primary care physician, our specialists, and my neurologist. If one of us were to get sick, with all due respect to the healthcare providers in southwest Florida, where would we receive better treatment?

Official recommendations

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention isn’t much help in this case. Its “If You Travel” recommendations simply state what we’ve been told month after month: Wear a mask, practice social distancing, wash your hands, keep your hands off your face, and avoid sick people.

The World Health Organization provides some travel advice, but what I’ve found there so far is pretty general and about 10 months old. AAA has two good suggestions for auto travel that I hadn’t seen elsewhere: Pack your own lunch to avoid stopping to eat, even at a drive-thru, and if you feel uncomfortable at a hotel, restaurant, or rest stop, leave. If there are too many people there, or if masks aren’t being worn, leave.

Stay or go?

So, what should we do? I’ve been leaning toward going. I’ve even made a hotel reservation in South Carolina, just in case. But as I’ve been writing this, I’ve started having doubts.

What do you think?

You’re invited to visit my personal blog at www.themswire.com.

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 Note: Multiple Sclerosis News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Multiple Sclerosis News Today or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to multiple sclerosis.

Diagnosed with MS at age 32 in 1980, Ed has written the “MS Wire” column for Multiple Sclerosis News Today since August 2016. He presents timely information on MS, blended with personal experiences. Before retiring from full-time work in 2012, Tobias spent more than four decades in broadcast and on-line newsrooms as a manager, reporter, and radio news anchor. He’s won several national broadcast awards. As an MS patient communicator, Ed consults with healthcare and social media companies. He’s the author of “We’re Not Drunk, We Have MS: A tool kit for people living with multiple sclerosis.” Ed and his wife split time between the Washington, D.C. suburbs and Florida’s Gulf Coast.
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Diagnosed with MS at age 32 in 1980, Ed has written the “MS Wire” column for Multiple Sclerosis News Today since August 2016. He presents timely information on MS, blended with personal experiences. Before retiring from full-time work in 2012, Tobias spent more than four decades in broadcast and on-line newsrooms as a manager, reporter, and radio news anchor. He’s won several national broadcast awards. As an MS patient communicator, Ed consults with healthcare and social media companies. He’s the author of “We’re Not Drunk, We Have MS: A tool kit for people living with multiple sclerosis.” Ed and his wife split time between the Washington, D.C. suburbs and Florida’s Gulf Coast.

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8 comments

  1. Gale Langseth Vester says:

    Stay home. I could do the plus or minus game, but there are far too many minuses out there just now, with all the panic and people who don’t care what they’ve been told to do.

  2. Wendy Hovey says:

    Stay home! It’s just too risky. Watch Rachel Maddow’s recent dissertation on this subject after her partner got Covid.

  3. Anthony H says:

    This year, I’d say stay home, at least until a Covid vaccine is available (hopefully within months from now).
    Once Covid is no longer a threat, you are free to travel whenever you can and still enjoy it. Do your best to mitigate risks, but don’t let them overwhelm you. Just an opinion!

    • Ed Tobias says:

      Anthony,

      Yep. It looks as if this is a case of what we want to do versus what we should do. Should do is winning.

      BTW, you sound like a crisis manager. Not too many people use the term “mitigate risks.” I did a little of that work before I retired.

      Ed

  4. John Brett says:

    Go where you can control your own destiny. I think that that means stay home in the “Bleak Midwinter” to help guarantee that you can enjoy a glorious spring.

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