Travel and travel planning are being disrupted by the worldwide spread of the coronavirus.
With across the country issuing instructions for residents to stay at home to help curb the coronavirus outbreak, we asked experts in epidemiology and infectious diseases for answers — and what precautions you should take, if you must hit the road, to stay safe from infection.
“It’s not necessarily about getting in the car,” said Dr. Krutika Kuppalli, a global health physician and vice chair of the Infectious Diseases Society of America’s global health committee. “What really matters is what you’re going to do when you get somewhere.”
With the new travel restrictions, are people allowed to drive to a different state? Will there be problems coming back?
As far as whether travel by car is permitted, that is determined by where you live. For example, Puerto Rico, a United States territory that has stringent restrictions in place,
Be sure to know your state’s rules and if you want to travel out of state, those of your destination and any states you must travel through.
“Given the strain we already have on our health care systems we don’t want people flocking to one place, getting sick, and then placing even more of a strain on the health care system” there, Dr. Kuppalli said, noting examples of people traveling to Hawaii, where additional illnesses would add undue strain to the state’s already overburdened system.
First consider why you want to travel.
“Traveling longer distances by car is not advisable right now, unless it is of a more urgent nature,” said Rachel Patzer, an epidemiologist and director of health services research at Emory University School of Medicine. “If it is far enough that it requires you to refuel or stop for food, this may be more difficult to practice social distancing and could put you or others at risk.”