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Below are links to the latest versions of my coronavirus articles plus an interview I did on March 3 (now terribly out of date). As of March 13, 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 no more greetings with handshakes, hugs or 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;
- follow the procedures of your public health office if you have even the slightest of respiratory symptoms: isolate yourself from others, 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 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).
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.
I’ve also written, for Fodor’s:
- 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).
- 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 part of the 20% of the world’s population 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.
- More to come.
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 10 days 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.