blurred people in a modern hall

I’ve posted quite a bit about Coronavirus, in part because I find it incredibly frustrating. I get the fear, I get the real life consequences, but I also believe humanity has lost rationality, and that the news isn’t making things any better. Coronavirus is cheap, easy, viral fear mongering.

Whenever I post my opinion – which is just that – I instantly trigger a “stick to travel a-hole” response, with the “you’re not a doctor or infectious disease expert” tagged on somewhere. Fair enough to the second half.

So today, I wanted to share something, I found very moving, from someone who is both a qualified doctor and noted infectious disease expert, who’s worked through many of the most dangerous and infectious outbreaks mankind has ever known.

I think it provides amazing perspective, particularly as looting begins, and necessities disappear from shelves worldwide with irrationality taking full form. Coronavirus is bad, absolutely, but the knock on consequences of humanities incorrect response could be far worse.

As I’ve shared before, Coronavirus is actually encouraging me to travel more this year. Prices are down, there’s availability to finally cash in some points, and the virus is already all over the cities where I find myself weekly. Many destinations on my list have far fewer cases than the places I find myself in daily.

Above all else, I will always do my best, travel or not, to just “golden rule” it.

a row of gold statues in a templeTreat others as you’d like to be treated. I wouldn’t visit anyone, let alone a vulnerable elderly person if I had a cold, let alone the flu.

Should you travel? Only you can make that risk assessment; I wouldn’t make any non refundable travel plans, but airlines are making it quite easy thanks to flexible policies designed to encourage bookings. I, personally, am much more worried about commuting with millions of sniffling people every day than sitting on a beach in the sun avoiding humanity entirely.

Thanks to my friend Doctor Fiona for sharing : )

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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  1. I’m a frontline physician in this. I tell people the same thing every day- it likely is everywhere or will be very shortly. In our overburdened system, if you don’t need to be hospitalized, stay home. You dint need to hoard toilet paper and other items. Wash your hands, soap and water is far more effective than purell, although it is still very effective. You don’t need a mask in the general population. All it does is encourage you to touch your face and increase your risk (COVID is thought time be droplet based instead of truly airborne like measles, which is FAR more contagious).

    I’m still traveling. And I will continue to. I’ll bring my hand sanitizer and my Lysol wipes to clean my personal space, but beyond that, there isn’t much you need to do to protect yourself other than avoiding obviously sick people and avoiding crowding during boarding.

  2. The virus is killing older people.

    Religious people should just embrace it. This is gods judgement. Why are you hypocrites doing everything to go against god’s judgement.

    Republican communities should have more virus spread. It fits their philosophy. If you can’t hack it on your own merits, you probably deserve to go away.

    In other words old people how is it fair the world spending so much money trying to protect you? The cost benefit analysis is out of whack here.

  3. Thanks for posting Abdu Sharkawy’s article. It’s good to find like minded people writing articles in a calm and rational tone that promotes a calm and rational approach to the spread of this virus. If only our politicians and news media would do the same.

    In regards to travel, it’s a rare opportunity to look for some great bargains. I hope you’ll post what you find.

  4. Wow, debit, I even don’t know where to start. The virus is killing ALL people at the rate much higher than regular flu. The older ones are vulnerable to ALL kinds of infections, even common cold. Before posting, please educate yourself and tune down your hate for religion and republican.

  5. I can’t help wondering if you are drawing a curve through a small number of data points. Sure the news media is focusing on the minority of folks overreacting, but that’s what they always do. Anything to sell ads. The rest of us are going along with our life with maybe a touch more mindfulness and doing thing we probably should always have done.

    And with respect to traveling, I guess everyone has to figure that out for themselves. I’ve postponed a trip to visit my 80 year old Mom in Florida. Granted she might get exposed in due course, but it would be a whole different thing if I got exposed / infected and passed it to her.

    And actually, if I’m being honest, it just isn’t that much of a sacrifice for me to be mindful of my travel in the short term to help other people out as well.

    1. The problem is, that for some of us, it’s tough to rearrange some travel. I’m going to Australia for my honeymoon. I’ve gotta year and a half of planning, and arranging things with my ex to minimize the impact on my kids, and minimizing the impact on work (I’m an emergency physician), not to mention the financial aspect of this as well.

      If it was as easy as a weekend trip that could be redone, that’s one thing. This is a process that started forever ago that’s not so easily undone. It’s all about risk mitigation. And I’m not so much worried about actually going. It’s what will happen coming home down the road.

  6. @ Debit – whatever you wish on other people, hope you get it twice as much…..

    @ Mods – can we please shut down this hateful speech from this troll?

  7. I’m not afraid of the virus, even in my late 60s. What I’m afraid of is some sort of delays, quarantines or other events (due to COVID19) on my way back from overseas.

  8. Lots of people have shared this same post. Common sense and less scaremongering by the media would help!

  9. The 2003 SARS virus is from the coronavirus family and if follow the timeline (similar to the current situation), started to dissipate in May and into the summer. I am hoping for the same thing here.

    Sweet report…Thank u!

    I always enjoy your writing!

  10. I had a paid ticket to FTU in DC this weekend. But I cancelled as I live in Seattle, with is currently the epicenter of the outbreak in the United States. I hated to think that, if I had the virus, I would be spreading it to people all over the country. I have read that many scientists think we can spread it while still being symptomatic. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but I think it is irresponsible to travel right now unless absolutely necessary. It is about protecting other people, and helping slow the spread so that hospitals are not overwhelmed.

  11. Most people are afraid of the unknowns. It’s not we’ll known or known at all how the virus is spread, the consensus is that this virus is more contagious than the flu,
    Seemingly many people who have even minimal casual contact with an infected asymptomatic person are being infected. That’s where seems to be.

  12. Book flights to Moscow in June (RFS avios wide open ofc). I am all for travelling, but, as people have been stating, need to avoid quarantine…. Moscow is seemingly enforcing quarantine on several countries, including arrivals from the UK as of the last day or two (self imposed initially but police enforced if you are seen on camera outside). Turning up at an airport and being quarantined would not be great. Need to assess in May before commiting to a visa.
    Any data points if BA charge for RFS avios cancellation is still £1 (not £35 pp), even with Moscow being Club world?


  13. I recently returned from a four day trip to Tokyo. I found award availability in F at saver rates, and the prices for 5 star hotels were the lowest I’ve seen. COVID19 was clearly a concern, but for locals it was life as usual – just with more masks and hand sanitizer.
    However, I was traveling by myself and have been to Tokyo many times. I was not looking for a tourist experience, and I would suggest that those seeking the full tourist experience to reschedule. Many attractions like museums, public gatherings, festivals and amusement parks were closed. Although it may be cheap to get to, and stay in Tokyo, it may be disappointing to have to skip those popular tourist destinations. With that said, I had a great time, and wouldn’t hesitate to recommend a cheap trip to Tokyo for experienced travelers that are not elderly.

  14. I live in the Bay Area and already our symphony has been shut down for a month as the crowd is the most extreme vulnerable. We stock Purrell in our house but we have actually transitioned to hand washing to conserve supplies and it is actually a better option. An interesting statistic out of Japan is that after the outbreak occurred the change in personal habits in Japan actually has reduced the regular flu season. We shouldn’t think that the US population is as smart as the Japanese so we should expect bigger outbreaks and if any of our family is in the high risk zone we should definitely change our behavior. A short suspension of crowds or airports won’t be the end of the world and staying home and paying more attention to our families might be great medicine!

  15. // Many destinations on my list have far fewer cases than the places I find myself in daily.

    Given that the incubation period is so long, you are potentially bringing disease to other places even though you don’t know it

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