In spring-summer 2000, I was told I was one of the only people not writing clickbait it’s-time-to-panic or you-can-ignore-it-all articles about COVID-19. I was trying to parse through the science and often extremely misleading government, health, and media takes on the novel virus that affects both individual and population health but also economies and industries.
As more and more people want to pretend COVID is over or not a threat, I’m still one of the only people trying to raise awareness of how to minimize your chance of contracting the virus that is still circulating wildly (sadly, few editors want to publish such stories) and about the risks of Long COVID. Sure, some people have mild respiratory symptoms, but there’s overwhelming evidence that the SARS-COV-2 virus damages blood vessels throughout the body. Why wouldn’t you do something simple like wearing a KN95 mask so you can reduce your chances of getting diabetes, Parkinson’s, a heart attack, and the dozens of other conditions associated with damage caused by COVID? (Similarly, why wouldn’t you want to do such a simple thing that can also prevent you from being sick for a week with a “cold”?) And, yes, Long COVID can happen even when the initial infection was mild and, thanks to the world letting COVID spread and therefore mutate, it can happen if you’re vaccinated too.
Because of my background as a policy executive in the Government of Canada (where I worked on issues like pandemic influenza and food safety), my COVID writing has taken a measured approach. As it became more apparent that the situation was more severe, my articles changed. They also changed when I realized how much mis- and disinformation is being spread — including by medical experts and governments. Some of my earlier articles contribute to that — I unknowingly spread mis- and disinformation. I’ve tried to debunk that where I could, but as “the great COVID cover-up” became more and more obvious, more and more publications lost interest in publishing COVID stories.
I spent much of 2020 writing COVID articles, and below are links to some of the earlier ones. One day I’ll get around to adding all of the links here. You can find everything on my Publications page though.
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. At the time, most of the world thought COVID was spread by fomites (i.e. touching an infected object and then touching your face) but shortly after that understanding grew that COVID most easily spreads by breathing. That made my March 2 advice terribly out of date very quickly. But, 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.
I’ll post links (eventually) above as well as on the Publications page. You can always see my latest at the top of my Contently page: https://johannaread.contently.com/.
Based on my research, my advice continues to be #CoronaCareful:
- Do everything you can to avoid getting COVID and therefore Long COVID.
- Wear a respirator like a KN95 or N95 around people you don’t live with, always indoors and in crowds outdoors. COVID spreads easily by people who don’t yet have symptoms and by some who don’t have any symptoms at all.
- If you have even the slightest of respiratory symptoms, stay away from others and if you absolutely must leave your home, be sure to wear that N95.
- Get every vaccine you’re eligible for. There’s evidence that vaccines’ effectiveness wanes over time and, thanks to so many people continuing to get infected, the virus continues to mutate.
- Don’t pretend COVID is over or that it isn’t a threat, both to you and people more vulnerable than you.
Great blog pls keep me updated
Thanks for sharing this helpful post.
Thanks for sharing these useful resources. I am gonna keep referring back to them. Looking forward to reading more of these awesome blogs :)
LikeLiked by 1 person
These are helpful links but much of the info. is somewhat dated now.
Yup, the COVID situation changes daily. While my Fodor’s editors have asked me to update my general and Europe articles on a more or less weekly basis, there’s not much a freelancer can do to update articles that are now owned by someone else.
I’ll soon be able to add links here to a new e-book I’m writing with Fodors, a new Fodor’s article about hotels, and one I’m writing for National Geographic about COVID travel general. However, they’ll get out of date soon enough too. Let’s hope editors continue to commission stories from me so I can share more updated info.
thank you for this.
LikeLiked by 1 person
many thanks to you and hope you and your family are all doing ok in this crisis
Thanks Joanne for all your sensible advice re Vivid 19. I have forwarded it to several friends who could benefit from this. I fly home next week via Eva Air and thinking positively that I will get there with no problem.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Just read what I wrote and noticed typo. Should be Covid – 19. I hate this dann smart phone for typing.Keep up your good work. Take care of YOU!
LikeLiked by 1 person
Don’t worry — I figured! And my typing skills (on all platforms) have gone from bad to terrible, so I completely get it :-)
Thanks Betty! I hope everything goes smoothly too Please give me an update on how it went once you’re home and refreshed.