I’ve been told I’m one of the only people not writing clickbait it’s-time-to-panic or you-can-ignore-it-all 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), my COVID-19 writing has taken a measured approach, sharing COVID-19 information that is proven or based on the advice of experts. As the situation has grown more severe, my articles have too.
I spent much of 2020 writing COVID articles, and below are links to the 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.
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);
- wear a face covering around other people you don’t live with;
- practice physical (not social!) distancing by staying at least 1-2 meters from other people, and that includes stopping greetings like handshakes, elbow bumps, hugs, and kisses;
- wash your hands;
- stop touching your face;
- 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, but also remember that we now know that COVID spreads easily by people who don’t yet have symptoms and by some who don’t have any symptoms at all;
- don’t panic, minimize use of medical supplies if they’re in short supply, 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).