I’ve been told I’m one of the only people not writing clickbait it’s-time-to-panic articles about the new COVID-19 coronavirus that’s spreading around the world.
Because of my background as a policy executive in the Government of Canada (where I worked on issues like pandemic influenza and food safety), I rely on the evidence of experts to draw conclusions. There’s a lot of non-experts out there with opinions on COVID-19 driven by fear that are, in my opinion, often unfounded. And there’s a lot of people, including governments, making unscientific decisions because they feel like they need to be doing “something” and because some things might sound like they make sense (e.g. travel bans), even though science shows they don’t work and can give a false sense of security or they need an enormous amount of resources which would be better spent elsewhere.
So, my COVID-19 writing has taken a measured approach, sharing COVID-19 information that is proven and based on the advice of experts. As the situation has grown more severe, my articles have too.
Below are links to the latest versions of my coronavirus articles plus an interview I did on March 3 (terribly out of date even a week later).
I’ve updated my original article for Fodor’s countless times now as the news keeps changing. Read it at The Latest: Should You Change Your Travel Plans Due to the Coronavirus? If you’re curious about the previous versions, PDFs of each are on the Publications page.
For National Geographic, I was asked to interview several COVID experts and answer key questions on the mind of Americans looking at domestic travel in summer 2020: Is it safe to travel now? It depends. It was republished by Apple News, MSN (Is it safe to travel now? It depends) and MSN Australia (Is it safe to travel now? It depends).
I’ve also written, for Fodor’s:
- Will it be safe to travel when this is all over? Will we even know? Considerations for travel safety in the COVID world.
- Republished by WebMD: Will it be safe to travel when this is all over? Will we even know? (scroll down to click “view all” to see whole article with minimal page flipping).
- Republished by MSN: Will it be safe to travel when this is all over? Will we even know?
- Are you less at risk for coronavirus at a hotel or Airbnb? The bottom line is that properties that take care of their employees result in employees that can take care of you.
- Republished by MSN: Are you less at risk for coronavirus at a hotel or Airbnb?
- In the time of COVID: Are there safe destinations to travel to? (Short answer: your backyard or balcony are ideal! And wizards can feel free to apparate to deserted islands, mountain tops, or lonely Scottish moors).
- 8 ways your hotel stay will be different post-pandemic — what to expect when travel starts up again.
- Republished by MSN: 8 ways your hotel stay will be different post-pandemic.
- How safe will eating in restaurants be when they open up again?
- Republished by MSN: How safe will eating in restaurants be when they open up again?
- Republished by WebMD: How safe will eating in restaurants be when they open up again?
- When can I start planning a trip? Including responsible tourism considerations, places you can donate to now to show your support, and ways to have a virtual vacation.
- In sickness and in sickness: Weddings and honeymoons in the time of coronavirus, for those of you planning destination weddings and honeymoons in 2020.
- Is it safe to go to the beach right now? (Short answer: only if it’s really close to you, almost empty and you’re not subject to movement restriction or under lockdown).
- Coronavirus outbreak: Should you cancel a trip to Europe? Originally published March 4, 2020, I’ve done multiple updates; PDFs of each are on the Publications page.
Because of the first Fodor’s article, I was asked to do an interview with William Levinson for the Associated Press’ travel podcast called “Get Outta Here!”. The interview took place on March 2, 2020, and was released on March 3 (and not even a week later was horribly out of date). So, if you want to hear those outdated thoughts on COVID-19 and travel:
- Apple version: (Don’t) Get Outta Here — Travel and COVID-19.
- General version (e.g. for your laptop): (Don’t) Get Outta Here — Travel and COVID-19.
- Other versions available on the Get Outta Here podcast website, or do a search in your podcast app of choice.
Based on my research, my advice is to be #coronacareful:
- do everything you can to “FlattenTheCurve to protect health care systems and people more vulnerable than you (e.g. older adults, people with underlying health conditions, people who live in poverty, refugees and migrants, developing countries ….);
- stay home as much as you can (and I mean stay in your actual home, not just stay in your home city or country);
- practice physical (not social!) distancing by staying 1-2 meters from other people, and that includes stopping greetings like handshakes, hugs and kisses;
- wash your hands (“like you’ve been chopping jalapenos and you need to take out your contact lenses”, as British Columbia’s provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says) and often;
- stop touching your face;
- wearing a face covering in public may prevent you from spreading the virus — at a minimum, it shows others that you’re being #coronacareful and trying to do what you can to stop the spread of COVID-19;
- follow the procedures of your public health office if you have even the slightest of respiratory symptoms: isolate yourself from others and call your local health authority before you visit a doctor or emergency room;
- rely on the advice of the World Health Organization and governments that use evidence-based decision-making like the Government of Canada);
- don’t panic, don’t use medical supplies like gloves and masks unless you’re sick yourself or are caring for a sick person, don’t hoard food and supplies, don’t be xenophobic, and thank and cheer on your local health care workers and others who provide essential services (we do this at 7 p.m. nightly in Vancouver from front porches and balconies).