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Trip Report

Why I’m Still Traveling During the Coronavirus Outbreak

Why I’m Still Traveling During the Coronavirus Outbreak
Anya Kartashova

As the new coronavirus is making waves around the world, more and more travelers are wary of planning globetrotting adventures. It’s understandable. Very little is known about COVID-19 and its quick spread. There’s no vaccine, and it’s uncertain where we’ll see the next outbreak.

Every day, new countries report cases of the disease, and it’s become a public health emergency in some popular destinations, such as Italy, South Korea and even in some parts of the United States.

Not to downplay the situation—it is quite serious—but I’m not letting it stop my travels. Here’s why I’m not canceling my plans in the midst of the coronavirus outbreak.

Have questions about coronavirus travel? Head to FlyerTalk’s comprehensive Coronavirus Page

I’m Not Traveling to Heavily Affected Countries

Six months ago, when nobody had even heard of the novel virus, I booked a trip to Sri Lanka. As of March 8, Sri Lanka has registered just one COVID-19 case since the public learned of the virus.

However, my scheduled itinerary on Korean Air included a layover in Seoul, South Korea, which has registered the most coronavirus cases outside of China, where the virus originated. In fact, South Korea confirmed between 367 and 600 new cases per day over the last seven days (at the time of writing), according to the World Health Organization. As a result, many airlines have canceled flights to the Land of Morning Calm.

Although my specific flight hadn’t been canceled about 10 days before departure, I called Flying Blue, whose miles I had redeemed, and requested to cancel it myself. I was more concerned about being quarantined somewhere for transiting through South Korea and, perhaps, not being let into Sri Lanka or other countries. The agent on the phone let me cancel the flight and waived the cancelation fee.

I then went ahead and booked a new flight on Qatar Airways using American Airlines AAdvantage miles. Even though I altered my routing, I didn’t want to back out of the whole trip.

I’m Not in a Vulnerable Age Group

As a woman in my early 30s, I’m not at high risk of developing a serious illness. The disease seems to affect the elderly (mostly those over the age of 70) and people with weakened immune systems or other underlying medical conditions, according to the Los Angeles Times. Again, I’m not trying to lessen the seriousness of the situation, but my chances of dying from COVID-19 are small.

I Work Remotely

On the off-chance that I’m exposed to the virus or get sick, I can self-quarantine for 14 days. I work remotely and don’t have to go to an office where I could infect my colleagues. When I’m home, I rarely leave my apartment anyway, so my hermit lifestyle actually is a plus in this situation.

Additionally, no one in my immediate family is in a vulnerable age group. It would be ill-advised to travel and come back to relatives with low immune systems, but that’s not the case for me.

I Will Take Preventive Measures

No, I will not be showing up at the airport in a hazmat suit—just imagine going through TSA wearing that thing—but I do plan on practicing personal hygiene more than usual. Sure, I wash my hands in my day-to-day life, but I have caught myself focusing on washing my hands more often, longer and more thoroughly lately.

According to the WHO, avoiding touching your face is an important preventive measure against COVID-19. Because the virus can enter the body through the nose, mouth, and eyes, face touching is a big no-no. This preventive measure is harder to adhere to than most people think, but it’s imperative to try.

To strengthen my immune system, I plan on getting plenty of sleep and eating oranges for a few days before the trip. Although studies have been inconsistent whether vitamin C actually helps prevent a cold, it can’t hurt, can it?

Social distancing is another big one. Between security lines, waiting areas and boarding procedures, it’s difficult to keep the distance of 3 feet from a person who’s coughing or sneezing, as per the WHO’s recommendation. Still, I can avoid handshakes and other regional greetings to avoid close contact with someone who potentially has the virus.

In Conclusion

At the end of the day, to travel or not to travel during a public health crisis is everyone’s personal decision. I think focusing on sanitation, using good judgment and avoiding the most affected areas is really all I can do. Virus or not, I want to see the world.

View Comments (75)

75 Comments

  1. quintic

    March 9, 2020 at 1:39 pm

    “As a woman in my early 30s, I’m not at high risk of being infected.” — Really? I am disappointed that flyertalk put this article at front page.

  2. GateGuardian

    March 9, 2020 at 2:01 pm

    This is why we can’t contain this virus. Idiots like you are the cause of this virus transmitting to other countries. There’s no symptoms for the first week!

  3. diamantaire

    March 9, 2020 at 2:38 pm

    “I’m Not in a Vulnerable Age Group

    As a woman in my early 30s, I’m not at high risk of being infected. The disease seems to affect the elderly (mostly those over the age of 70) and people with weakened immune systems or other underlying medical conditions, according to Los Angeles Times.

    Again, I’m not trying to lessen the seriousness of the situation, but my chances of contracting COVID-19 are small. For this reason, I don’t think I’m putting myself or anyone else in danger by traveling to Sri Lanka.”

    Are you out of you sensés ? ? Just bécause you are in your mid 30s doesn’t mean you won’t contract it!! It only means your chances of survival are better than someone in their 70s.
    Also it doesn’t mean that someone close to you (friends, family, neighbors etc) won’t contract it or survive it after being affected by you ot someone else.

    This is a very irresponsible & misleading article. The who is short of declaring this as a pandemic!! Personal hygiene& cleanliness must always be maintained irrespective of the the situation. There is no cure & the epidemic is spreading further. Will you taking responsibility if by traveling more people get infected??

  4. RobH

    March 9, 2020 at 3:11 pm

    She’s at a lower risk of dying if she gets infected. But she has the same risk of being infected as anyone else. And the same risk of transmitting it to others if she does acquire the infection.

  5. noFODplease

    March 9, 2020 at 3:44 pm

    What a stupid article – and ignorant writer who fails to understand that your age has no bearing on how likely you are to be infected. Worrying standard that FlyerTalk applies to articles – this is literally misinformation and should be removed.

  6. Tack

    March 9, 2020 at 4:23 pm

    I don’t see a thing wrong with what she is doing. What is your reason for all the negative comments? Too much consumption of the over hyped news for you? She has a greater chance of dying from the flu virus then COVID-19. At least 14,000 people have died and 250,000 have already been hospitalized during the 2019-2020 flu season, this, according to estimates from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. If she can survive the flu then she can survive the Corona Virus. I too am continuing to fly internationally, both for work and vacation. Run around with your “the sky is falling” rants where someone actually cares.

  7. drvannostren

    March 9, 2020 at 5:28 pm

    Nice to see all the commentors are hermits in fear of their lives. 2017-2018 flu season caused 61,000 deaths…but I’m gonna guess that none of the people posting above me were living in fear of that.

    The reality is, this is gonna spread regardless of what any of us individually do. You’re either gonna get sick, or not, it’s luck. You can do all the handwashing you want, you can live inside a bubble at home, but the minute you go out to buy that coveted toilet paper everyone seems to think has curative properties, and someone sneezes at costco…you’re toast. You can’t control that, some infected people can’t even control that as it’s been said the virus can incubate for up to 2 weeks.

    So yes, being mid 30s and relatively healthy is a solution…I get a cold every year…might even be the flu, to be honest I’m not exactly sure how to distinguish…haven’t died yet.

    Once this blows over, just remember 61,000 deaths, probably 60,999 of which went unreported on the news or your facebook feed.

  8. carlosdca

    carlosdca

    March 9, 2020 at 5:59 pm

    Author says: “As a woman in my early 30s, I’m not at high risk of being infected”
    WRONG WRONG WRONG
    Author is not at high risk of dying.
    But author is at the same risk as anybody else of getting infected. And then infecting the world while she goes around apparently healthy or with only mild symptoms.
    Ignorant article.
    Should be deleted.

  9. edgewood49

    March 9, 2020 at 6:12 pm

    Your not at Risk ? Really?

  10. Waydui

    March 9, 2020 at 6:21 pm

    You guys make Anya sound like Typhoid Mary. Have some perspective.

    Would that the precautions she’s taking be adopted by parents sending their kids to school with the flu, employees showing up for work coughing and spewing who knows what in the office, restaurant workers wiping their noses on their sleeves when making my sandwich.

    Don’t presume that just because she travels, she is a “carrier”. Per the CDC, healthy people who show no symptoms or are not sick, have a lower risk of actually transmitting the virus. Yes, she has no lower risk of getting the infection due to her age but, if she’s infected, that doesn’t make her necessarily contagious.

    I travel internationally, just returned from a trip to the Middle East, have been home for 2 weeks with no symptoms or evidence of infection. Am I irresponsible for taking the trip?

  11. emcampbe

    March 9, 2020 at 6:47 pm

    I agree, author’s profile makes them lower risk for serious illness due to the virus. Not necessarily that they won’t get it.

    However, there are other things to consider. No offense, but how does anyone even know that they are less at risk at home than while traveling. I’d guess (not an expert) that aside from the trips through the airport, there’s no more risk in, say, a souvenir shop in Sri Lanka than there is shopping at a grocery store at home. Or whatever. Just saying. Or a museum in Sri Lanka vs. one in the US. If you’re going for a major sporting event, or convention, or something where you’d almost certainly be in close contact with thousands of people in close quarters, then yeah, I agree, its a pretty decent risk right now. If just for personal travel, I’m not convinced.

    I had two trips coming up over the next two weeks – 1 was already canceled (for work – travel banned), the other to DR. We’re still figuring out whether we want to still take that or not. Financial considerations are barely a factor (hotel is refundable, anyway, and we’d have use of most of the airfare at some point if we don’t go now – there’d just be the change fee – which is relatively minor). We are also in an age group where symptoms aren’t likely to be severe (two adults in mid 30s and early 40s, along with 2 kids, 5 and 2, and for this illness, they are apparently very low risk of having affects). The two risks I think are mostly are the consideration factors are the possibility of kids carrying it, but not showing any symptoms, and then passing it on. The other one is the potential to somehow end up in a situation where we are quarantined. I’m not that concerned about DR suddenly becoming a hot spot. I am potentially concerned about someone sneezing on the plane back, or coming up with a fever, then reporting it, then getting quarantined on a military base on the way home. That risk is probably still low, but something I don’t know that we want to risk.

  12. srdshelly

    March 9, 2020 at 7:04 pm

    I am not sure that Anya traveling to a place where there is no significant outbreak is more dangerous to herself or anyone else than staying home. An outbreak could occur anywhere. I would rather be quarantined at home, but that’s just my preference. Personally I will take previously booked travel, unless going to a place with a serious outbreak (I have none planned), but am not booking new travel over the next few months.

  13. TheStrangerIn29K

    March 9, 2020 at 7:16 pm

    Good grief.

    Ignorant comments like most of the above should be deleted! Anya, keep traveling however you want to, I say. Neither you movements about the globe nor mine are not going to move the needle on the spread of the virus either way at this point. It’s everywhere already, I believe, except Antarctica. I’m a couple decades older and have *increased* my air travel lately, not because of anything having to do with COVID-19, but because that’s what I’d decided to do already before all this even started.

    Our individual efforts to avoid contracting and spreading COVID-19 are probably as effective as avoiding being hit by a Heineken delivery truck on a rainy Tuesday at 09:47 AM on a street whose name begins with “T”.

    I don’t subscribe to all your reasoning here, but that’s beyond the point. I don’t think we need to reason with it. It’s going to spread no matter what. Each of us, individually, should do all we can to avoid acquiring the virus, but to suggest that any one person is somehow at fault for continuing to travel in this period…oye. I don’t even have the words for that.

    Happy travels,

    M

  14. FEasy

    March 10, 2020 at 3:31 am

    I have cancelled all my travel. My colleagues have done the same. we also stopped receiving visitors for work. Doesn’t matter to/from which country. You will only know whether a place is safe now two weeks from now, i.e. you can’t. Let’s support all those people who take the very burdensome step to adopt quarantine and make their efforts worthwhile by limiting our travel. It’s a small contribution but it will be much appreciated.

  15. CaliforniaSteve

    March 10, 2020 at 5:28 am

    You stand every bit as good a chance of contracting the virus as anyone else. You stand a much greater chance of not having a serious case resulting from the contraction. But that also means you stand a good chance of being an asymptomatic spreader of the virus and that, in turn, could cause harm to a great many people.

  16. Kipale78

    March 10, 2020 at 5:55 am

    I am shocked.

    This virus is a serious problem. People DO get infected, no matter the age, even though they might show no symptoms. And they infect others very quickly. So the author – being in her 30s – can get it and spread it to anyone around her.

    This article is dangerous.

    Italy is on its knees and soon many other countries will follow. The problem is not people who have mild symptoms per se, but the fact that the health system cannot accomodate such a sudden surge of patients needing intensive care and respirators.

    Lombardy – which has by itself the GDP of other European countries, a region which offers among the best healthcare in the world, is now giving out orders to doctors in hospitals to select those who can be treated and leave out those whose life expectancy is low, no matter the diagnosis: you have a stroke and there are no beds/respirators, you are out.

    Imagine what happens in Sri Lanka if they are hit.

    Look, I understand being in denial, we all went through that stage. But you need to get over it and avoid all the unnecessary travel. And you need to do it NOW.

  17. shipcamein

    March 10, 2020 at 7:38 am

    Agree with Kipale. Look – if I’m wrong, and Kipale is wrong, all of us sky is falling nuts are wrong – then so what? Anya’s self-described mission of “seeing as many countries as possible” will be delayed by a few months, no real consequences.

    On the other hand, if all of you deniers are wrong – it’s going to get a lot worse, fast. The carriers with no symptoms will be the major source of it, one at a time.

    For those playing number games, question for you: Why do you think more people don’t die from the “regular” flu? As high as the numbers are (300-500K worldwide) – why do you think it’s not much – much – worse? Two reasons only: Vaccines and Immunity. For this virus? You’ve got neither. So while it is “small” by comparison now – there is no logical reason (logic here, not guessing) to think that, sooner or later, we will not all have this. The strategy is to slow the spread until the vaccine shows up. If you lose that race, then we all have it, and most folks will say, “So what. I’m young. I’m good to go!” Great. Even at 1%, you’re looking at 70 million people. Still think the “regular flu” kills more?

    Please – people – it’s not about panic or craziness – use your brains, or your calculator – anyone can see it’s getting worse every day, and – with logic as your friend – I encourage you to consider that if you’re not at risk for showing symptoms, then you are at risk for transmitting the virus. There’s practically no other way it gets around, right? Some one has it, they give it to someone else. It doesn’t arrive via Amazon. So while one person might not make a difference – that person will make a HUGE difference to one other person. Ya see?

    FlyerTalk – I agree with many other posters here – do not encourage this type of “carefree” logic. Selfish behavior is usually harmless. Not this time.

  18. glob99

    March 10, 2020 at 11:18 am

    S. Korea is testing people in the 1000s per day, even those with no symptoms. That is how S. Korea has discovered the extent of the disease. I doubt Sri Lanka is doing any kind of extensive testing with its poor healthcare system.

  19. GlobalMatt

    March 10, 2020 at 6:40 pm

    Nobody wants to talk about how dangerous that plane looks in the picture? I mean common. The wings are way in the back of the plane (and way too small). This would easily throw off the weight and balance of an aircraft with a full load, and likely result in a horrible catastrophe for all on board. Clearly more of a risk to Anya than the coronavirus.

  20. sfoeuroflyer

    March 10, 2020 at 7:31 pm

    One should decide whether to approach the virus thing as a question of political correctness or as a matter of logic. If political correctness is your polestar then showing the correct degree of hysteria and just “doing something” will be the answer. If logic guides a person then are some facts. The yearly flu infects millions of people each year and kills many tens of thousands. The death rate falls into the range of .2%-.3%, mostly the very old and already weakened and children. The published death rate from Corona virus at the moment is somewhere between 2-3%…..but with a HUGE CAVEAT. The rate is determined based on the number of DIAGNOSED cases. Left out of the calculation are those cases of sick people who haven’t been diagnosed and people whose symptoms are so mild that they don’t report anything. If one makes a rational assumption about how many people have been left out of the calculation, the death rate falls into the range of the yearly flu. So why are people running around hysterically? Politicians and the idiots in the media are exploiting the situation and driving the frenzy. So if you want to play the game of ignoring those who have the virus and are not included in the calculation so that you can scream that this is worse than the regular flu, enjoy cowering in your bedrooms.

  21. gay

    March 11, 2020 at 4:18 am

    The author can still transmit the virus to others, whether she gets sick or not. Another self-centered Millennial. Sure she is free to travel all she wants, but why publish this trash?

  22. zzap

    March 11, 2020 at 4:18 am

    This is a terrible article full of inaccurate and misleading information. Can’t believe Flyertalk would publish drivel like this on its front page. Sad!

  23. Clincher

    March 11, 2020 at 4:28 am

    This article was endorsed and paid for by the airline indistry.

  24. CPMaverick

    March 11, 2020 at 4:28 am

    Will people please stop saying the flu is worse than Covid-19 already?

    The only reason is that the flu is more widespread. But that is rapidly changing.

    Covid-19, according to latest WHO data, is approximately THIRTY times more deadly than the flu. This statistic may change but not by that factor. The flu kills 0.1%. Covid 3.4%. Even for healthy people, the death rate is 1.4%. The flu kills 0.8% of elderly, Covid-19 kills 15-22% depending on the data source.

    So if you have two elderly grandparents that get infected, it’s almost a coin flip whether one dies. For their sake, slowing the spread matters.

    Now, I am not as critical as others towards the author, as long as the countries travelled are still low risk. But not because this is ‘just the flu’…

  25. PaulMSN

    March 11, 2020 at 4:35 am

    A lot of ignorant hysteria here.

  26. alben

    March 11, 2020 at 4:39 am

    Irresponsible actions on your part.

  27. dinoeck

    March 11, 2020 at 4:40 am

    A lot of self-generated conjecture in the comments above. I have two thoughts:

    1) Sri Lanka has low numbers of infections because people like you haven’t gone there yet.

    Disagree? Read this from the world health organization. They *might just* have some idea what they are talking about :

    Marking 100 000 cases

    7 March 2020

    Marking this sombre moment, WHO reminded all countries and communities that the spread of this virus can be significantly slowed or even reversed through the implementation of robust containment and control activities.

    Every effort to contain the virus and slow the spread saves lives. These efforts give health systems and all of society much needed time to prepare, and researchers more time to identify effective treatments and develop vaccines.

    Allowing uncontrolled spread should not be a choice of any government, as it will harm not only the citizens of that country but affect other countries as well.

    We must stop, contain, control, delay and reduce the impact of this virus at every opportunity. Every person has the capacity to contribute, to protect themselves, to protect others, whether in the home, the community, the healthcare system, the workplace or the transport system.

    https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/events-as-they-happen

  28. FlyerfromORD

    March 11, 2020 at 4:59 am

    Please don’t compare this to an annual flu. There are vaccines for flu. Even if not 100% effective, being vaccinated can result in a less severe case if the disease is contracted. COVID-19, no such preventives. The season for an annual flu can be predicted with some confidence. We hope that COVID-19 will also die out as a flu might, but we don’t know that. We understand something of typical mutations for annual flus. Mutation patterns and possibilities are unknown for COVID-19. In the meantime, travelers spread the virus.

    For some travel is necessary. For the traveler that brought this back to my neighborhood in the Chicago suburbs, travel was purely optional. I have no hope that my plans for an overseas trip in May will come off. Am I worried about myself – NO. Do I feel I need to be considerate and responsible towards my older family members and my neighbors – YES.

  29. hksteve

    March 11, 2020 at 5:00 am

    Mmm, believe whatever you like about covid-19, the big problem here is that if there is one person on your flight or one person in your hotel that tests positive or had contact with someone who tested positive then you could be quarantined. Quarantine procrdures have varied globally..
    1. Self isolation… Eg UK, US
    2. Isolation in hotel, Eg Tenerife, Austria, UAE
    3. Solitary confinement in tempeorary government facility Eg Hong Kong
    4. Confinement in local hospital, eg Vietnam

    Imagine 2 weeks solitary confinement in a hospital in a 3rd world country where you may not have access to mobile data and possibly won’t have any mobile signal at all.

  30. UKTroll

    March 11, 2020 at 5:03 am

    I think “I’m not travelling to heavily infected countries” is the most selfish of the writer’s poor rationalisations for continuing to travel.

    So it’s ok to travel from a country with a large number of cases and a certainty of suffering an exponential growth of more people infected, to a country that’s so far been lucky enough to remain able to contain the situation, via a travel method that also hugely increases the writer’s risk of infection either in the air or on the ground? I don’t think so.

    Healthy, fit, young people can get infected just as easily as the elderly and infirm. The difference is that the former are more likely to fight off the illness successfully. This doesn’t stop them being excellent vectors in the meanwhile, especially before symptoms occur. The illness will peak, but do you really want to help bring on a situation like that in Italy, where large numbers of patients are just being left to die in hospital passageways, because their modern healthcare system, arguably better on a person-to-person basis than that in the US, is simply overwhelmed?

  31. pdisme

    pdisme

    March 11, 2020 at 5:09 am

    Best part about it is no one knows the long term effects of COVID-19, so hey, I’m at low risk, may as well risk it, I probably won’t die, and worst case, I transmit it to a few other people who transmit it to a few more, what harm could come of that?!

  32. D2travel

    March 11, 2020 at 5:10 am

    Typical millennial article by writer, if it doesn’t affect her, she’s not concerned. However, she apparently misses the point that she can spread it to someone she cares about (if anyone but herself) and they might not survive.

  33. Josepherely

    March 11, 2020 at 5:24 am

    Interesting views,
    The purpose of restrictions on travel, events, closing schools etc. is to slow the transmission rate. This is to help deal with the burden on the healthcare services for the patients who get seriously sick. Transmission will occur, the virus will be an onging issue in the world (for ever). It will mutate. It will become like a seasonal flu. Many of use will be exposed (eventually). Poster’s reactions above are understandable. Reduction in transmission rates will save lives, both directly (patients directly infected) and indirectly with emerency services being able to continue to operate (think fire, ambulance, hospitals). Reduction in transmission rates (which is currently the best case goal) will not eliminate the virus.

    This is to be balanced with the need to not over react as well. This balance has not yet been reached. It is understandable. How to balance the impacts of economic recession and dislocation with excess deaths in certain parts of the population? No one questions this balance with regular flu, it is just a background fact.

    If the whole of the airline industry closes down for a period of a month or longer there will be no airline industry. State aid will be needed. Essential travel will become impossible. Hotel chains are laying off staff. the supply chain is reacting and will also be cutting cost laying off staff. Then start to think of the knock on effects….. recessions cause excess deaths as well.

  34. FlyfromDenver

    March 11, 2020 at 5:38 am

    It’s not just about you. It’s really that simple.

  35. ConnieDee

    March 11, 2020 at 6:13 am

    Ms. Kartashova makes a good point about transfering through Incheon: the airport itself is probably fine, but other countries might view a stop there as a red flag (thanks for that – I collect little insights like this for future reference). She’s done her homework, made her plans, is not unwilling to change them, and is continuing to pay attention. I would just add my own travel habit of carrying antibiotics plus my favorite over the counter remedies for illness such as acetaminofen, ibuprofen, cough suppressant and decongestants. Some of those items can be expensive and/or unavailable in some countries.

    Her strategy is similar to what I’m doing at home as an older, yet healthy person (luckily without spring travel plans) – my pantry, medicine cabinet and bookshelf are stocked but so far I’m just avoiding rush hour on public transit. As cases in my urban county increase (yes, I mentally multiply reported cases by 100 or even 1000), I’ll probably let go of some of my activities but in the meantime am following the usual routines.

  36. arcticflier

    March 11, 2020 at 6:20 am

    Wow Tack,
    Maybe those that “don’t actually care” about transmitting the virus to others (like yourself) could include their age.

    My guess is they are very self-absorbed 20 & 30-somethings.

  37. arcticflier

    March 11, 2020 at 7:04 am

    @sfoeuroflyer

    “If one makes a rational assumption about how many people have been left out of the calculation, the death rate falls into the range of the yearly flu.”

    I’m sorry I missed the part that a rational person uses before making assumptions—your source of information.

    Cause it sounds like you just grabbed that out of your wazoo…Lol

  38. Zarathustra

    March 11, 2020 at 7:06 am

    This article is a selfish disgrace. Almost a parody of what others think millennial are like. The person obviously doesn’t give a crap about spreading the virus and potentially infecting people who are in the risk group. Is this some sort of paid advertisement by the travel industry to bring up the bottom line?

  39. ecoomer

    March 11, 2020 at 7:06 am

    sfoeuroflyer:
    ” If one makes a rational assumption about how many people have been left out of the calculation, the death rate falls into the range of the yearly flu.”
    Logical fallacy. You assume that the mortality rate of the flu doesn’t have the same problem with statistics. It does. Many people who contract the flu never go to the hospital and are not included in the totals when calculating the rate. And you make a HUGE assumption (not rational) of “uncounted cases.” Rational requires some evidence to base upon. You have zero evidence. Yes, there are undoubtedly uncounted cases- the number is >0. That’s all you can say at this point.

    I’m not, as yet, canceling any travel (essential work, and some personal travel) over the next few weeks, but that could change. But this constant line of “the mortality rate has to be lower because we haven’t counted everyone” is a gross error in logic especially when comparing to the flu.

  40. PepeBorja

    March 11, 2020 at 7:08 am

    In the modern age humans have killed far more people than any virus… millions have been killed in the last 20 years by wars, terrorism, and crime… not viruses…. yet we seem to accept them all as normal but not a flu like virus…. i do question the motives of the media … how can’t I?

  41. GalaxyChris

    March 11, 2020 at 7:46 am

    I’m just back from Sri Lanka, it’s a poor country who have not the finance or the capacity to test people, the virus is here already but people are not tested at all.

    Many country have fake number, to keep tourist high like Thailand or keep the country in control like Indonesia.

    This is a real pandemia and we cannot compare with regular flu, I can bet the situation is USA will be very very bad soon, same as Europe will be more.

    Protect yourself and wear mask (FFP2 & FFP3 if you still find some) or even the basic one to lower the spreading. We cannot be all sick together in the same time in the world we don’t have the capacity to manage that.

  42. aspidites

    March 11, 2020 at 8:39 am

    Wow. Just WOW! Comments like most of the ones I see here are exactly why we NEED a global pandemic. We’ve got to thin the heard from all of these facebook/social media/mainstream media sheeple who will accept anything that is fed to them and panic accordingly. I’m willing to put my name in the hat as someone who might die from a pandemic, as long as we can get rid of about half the population. I thought Ebola would do it, because that is a REAL killer, but it hasn’t happened yet. Unfortunately now we are left with a common flu. Unfortunately it isn’t going to kill enough people, but it is going to really make the lunatics come out of the woodwork and since the media and government are so afraid of the great unwashed rising up, they are going to feed into the panic. This virus is no different than the flu. It is not a REAL threat as some posters claim. Contract it and move on with your life. Some already sick people will die from it, but they die from other things every day. People are so used to the end of days zombie movies that they want something like that to happen. Frankly, I’m just sitting back and enjoying the s*** show. This will make me see who really are the reasonable people in this world. The only way this is going to affect me negatively is if I can’t travel because of the panic or if one of my idiot neighbors holds me up at gunpoint and demands my toilet paper (?????).

    The author is 100% correct and I applaud her for not buying in to this crap. We need this virus to spread as quickly as possible so that we can get it over with and move on with our lives. Frankly, I’m using this opportunity to cash in on low airfare costs and short lines. I’m going to Disneyland! Look at the wait times!!! 5 min and less! I feel like we are back in the 70’s with tickets for the rides. I’m going to take full advantage of this while the media frenzy and the idiot puppies lap it up. I have no idea why this has exploded people’s heads the way that it has. It just shows that it doesn’t take much for the media to manufacture a crisis.

    There is no critical scientific logic that can win out anymore, it is just mob mentality. Let me just leave you with some wise words of other such manufactured crises…

    Ban GMOs!
    Organic Only!
    Paper Straws Rule!
    Gluten is the Devil!
    Roundup Gave Me Cancer!
    Vaccinations are a Government Conspiracy!

    I’m out!

  43. Orsino

    March 11, 2020 at 8:45 am

    What a profoundly irresponsible article. The author should be embarrassed to publicly air both her stupidity and lack of concern given the public health threat presented by this ongoing pandemic. Flyertalk should take this down, replace it with an apology for spreading misinformation and link to credible sources of information on COVID-19.

  44. loopingkuma

    March 11, 2020 at 9:32 am

    Confirmed cases are people tested positive. There wouldn’t be any confirmed case if there is no testing like in North Korea and earlier on in Indonesia. Indonesia claimed to have no confirmed case at all while all other Southeast Asian countries did.. Not having the testing kit or not administrating the test = no confirm case.

    Flying in a plane is a very high risk activity. Please isolate yourself for 14 days after being on a plane. Isolate as in not leaving your place at all.

    Virus or not, I want to eat good food, I want to go make money, I want to visit my parents, I want to see the world !!! But I refrain from doing all that for now.

    Just look at Italy… a week ago and now, the change of attitude

  45. shipcamein

    March 11, 2020 at 9:46 am

    Double wow. It’s not hysteria to realize – using just logic and the CDC data – in about 6 weeks, the number of cases will over take that of the flu. Except we’re only about 4 months into the year, instead of 12. Will it happen? I don’t know. Neither do you. But my bets go with math, logic, and science – and so far, there is no reason to think it WON’T happen. If your only ammo to “that WONT HAPPEN” is that you don’t trust the media or the gov’t. – that’s a sorry excuse. Produce a real reason besides your gut.

    After the number of cases exceeds that of the “regular” flu, I sure hope the “just like the flu” people will stop posting.

    Don’t flame me as a panic spreader. I’m just asking you to think for a moment, and realize that maybe it’s logical to try and slow the spread of this thing down until a vaccine can be developed. If I’m wrong, eh, the world will fix itself in a few months, money and all, and you can all gloat that You Told Me So.

    If you deniers are wrong – you won’t care, really, because many of you won’t be here.

  46. dsellens

    March 11, 2020 at 10:30 am

    To those deniers that think it is no worse than the flu, you are wrong. It is transmitted at least as easily as the flu. For that reason, there is no real reason to think that it will not eventually be as widespread as the flu. The real issue is that it is anywhere from 10 to 34 times more deadly than the flu. The flu kills approximately .1% of those infected while WHO is saying that the death toll from Covid-19 may be as high as 3.4%. While there are problems with the 3.4% number due to the lack of testing particularly in the US, other countries with good testing are seeing numbers in the 1% or higher range.

  47. transparent

    March 11, 2020 at 11:25 am

    @ecoomer

    It’s not exactly a logical fallacy as estimates of the mortality rate for flu does try to account for undiagnosed cases, not just those that require hospitalization or reporting. Whether the statistical methods used are accurate is another matter, though I would wager it’s within a certain confidence range.

  48. Tack

    March 11, 2020 at 11:59 am

    Hi Arcticflyer,

    I’m 58 years old. I don’t believe in hysterics. I have no doubt that this is a serious virus, but no one actually knows how many cases there really are because not all cases are being reported. Using that information, then it is possible that the mortality rate of this virus could be much lower then published. I choose to keep flying, going out to events, restaurants, etc. and enjoying my life. When I am ill, I stay home until I have recovered and I am not contagious. Once there is a consensus in the medical profession that says conclusively that all outside activities in a normal life need to be shut down, I will act accordingly. As for those that think I am reckless or selfish… I shrug. The CDC maintains that a person can be infected with the flu virus but have no symptoms, yet still transmit it to others, the same as the Corona virus. I’m not being flip, but I’m not going to curtail activities I enjoy or need to do unless I’m physically sick. If anyone decides that the risks are too great for themselves, then you’re free to decide what action is best for you. I have made my decision. Cheers

  49. jimbous

    March 11, 2020 at 12:01 pm

    Folks, if there is a passenger in a flight you’d rather sit next to it’s probably the author.
    She seems to be doing all the safe actions except ….. for travelling, and many here have crucified her for that!

    Now, look at the facts regarding this virus:
    1. A vaccine is most likely about 1-2 years away, probably late 2021 or later.
    2. During that time almost everyone not locked in his basement/bedroom will get it.
    3. This virus seems to have already mutated to a weaker and a stronger type.
    4. Further mutations, probably more resistant and deadlier are not out of the realm of possibility.
    5. There is NO immunity to this virus, so if you get it, you can get it again and again.

    Given the above, human behavior and economic activity will be heavily affected in the near/medium term, probably the next few years, until the medical research people discover a relative cure or an acceptable stopgap.

    Just to look at some possible numbers, if only half of the world’s population of about 8 billion people get it, it’ll probably be a higher number, and say the mortality rate is half of the current estimates, say 1.5%, that is about 120,000,000 dead in the next couple of years.

    If there is no permanent cure and there are re-infections these numbers are on the low side.

    BUT, look at the bright side: The environment will be the chief beneficiary as the CO2 emission levels will decline!!!

  50. Katgal

    March 11, 2020 at 12:12 pm

    What a perfect example of ignorance and selfishness. Like the anti-vaxxers, this writer shows no concern for the rest of the world. As long as SHE’S not at risk (which she is, of course), she simply doesn’t care about potentially spreading the disease to those more vulnerable.

  51. aspidites

    March 11, 2020 at 12:18 pm

    Jimbous

    I’m not really sure you understand how viruses work. If you fight off a virus, you cannot be made sick again by that virus since you have the antibodies for it. I think what you mean to say is that you can be infected by a MUTATED strain of the same virus. That is not the same as being reinfected. I think it is important to use the correct terminology.

  52. jimbous

    March 11, 2020 at 1:38 pm

    Correct. Similar behavior as the flu virus mutations requiring annual vaccinations whose protection effectiveness varies widely from the 30’s to 60’s, usually around 50%. And even after vaccination one is susceptible to the then active mutated flu virus for about 2 weeks before resistance kicks in.
    From what’s being reported the health professionals are most worried about these mutations and the speeds of mutation.

    It looks as if this virus will end up being like the annual flu virus requiring updated vaccines to “protect” against the mutated flavor of the month or season or year.
    Like the flue vaccines these vaccines will never be 100% effective.

  53. carlPDX

    March 11, 2020 at 3:12 pm

    The whole strategy to minimize deaths from this virus is to limit the ACCELERATION of the spread so that hospitals can treat the critically ill and reduce the overall mortality rate.

  54. shipcamein

    March 12, 2020 at 6:30 am

    Tack – math is not hysterics. As this thing gets worse – and it will, unless you think today is better than yesterday – then eventually you will have to ask yourself – is there any chance I took part in the spread of this? Did I do all I could have done to help out other people?

    Our first local case just appeared – in my own community. I wonder if that person flew for no good reason last week? And I wonder if he rubbed elbows with my wife or mother at the grocery store over the weekend.

    I agree your odds of having it are slim. Your odds of being a non-symptom carrier are slim. The odds of all future patients getting it from non-symptom carriers is not slim.

    So however rare it is – whoever rarely gets it – whenever they rarely die – it will almost certainly be because of people like Tack. It’s not hysteria. It’s math and logic.

  55. enggeol

    March 12, 2020 at 6:47 am

    The original post shows just how utterly selfish some people are. Travel after the pandemic is over, why run the risk and put so many orhers at risk. Look at the case of the selfish Vietnamese socialite who acted like you and spread the virus all over the place.
    Some of the comments here are crazy. ‘I have antibiotic,’ So what, this is a virus not a bacteria so having them us about as useful as a paper towel to stop a water leak.

  56. Tack

    March 12, 2020 at 8:20 am

    Shipcamein,

    Just wondering why, if you are so concerned about others spreading the virus, your wife and mother were out in public and at the grocery store? Certainly you are not suggesting that your family should not be bound by the same restrictions that you believe I need to follow? This is the hysteria that I am talking about. I would add that your concern about this virus may, in fact be spot on and my lack of concern may be wrong. But at the end of the day, I will continue to grocery shop, work, relax and yes, fly as I see a need. Just like your wife and mother saw a need to visit the grocery store.

  57. aspidites

    March 12, 2020 at 8:38 am

    Tack,

    Don’t you know it’s ‘do as I say, not as I do?’ This is the same mentality as the idiots who wear masks. They think they are protecting themselves, but a mask should only we worn by the sick to protect others. Do you really think that is why they are all buying masks? It’s the blame game. No personal accountability, that is what the media is all about.

    I’m not changing anything about my life either. It is almost like people wake up in the morning and say to themselves, ‘what am I going to panic about today.’

  58. shipcamein

    March 12, 2020 at 11:09 am

    Uh, except the CDC isn’t recommending that you reconsider trips to the grocery store. Yet.

    A better question is why you aren’t concerned – at all – about spreading the virus yourself. Positively illogical.

    At the end of the day – my family will probably take more precautions than you – that’s the bottom line. So when SHTF – people that are “out and about” will be entirely – 100% – no argument to be had – responsible for farther spread. We go to the store because we need to eat – not because we like joy riding.

    It’s not the same restrictions at all. If you need to do a thing to just get through the day, do it. Traveling for fun ain’t one of those things.

  59. MimiB22

    March 12, 2020 at 12:16 pm

    The writer may not be at high risk of death, but she’s maybe worse, may travel while infected because she doesn’t feel bad and infect those whom she comes into contact with, including high risk people. Good grief, what a vapid selfish dangerous twit. Here in Florida, a man flying from NYC last night boarded a Jet Blue plane to West Palm Beach, despite testing positive for the virus !! He didn’t give a damn, boarded the plane while feeling sick and potentially infected over 100 people. He was “found out” [news reports are vague as to how] while on the plane and the crew was alerted. On landing, the plane was diverted to an unused gate and all on the plane detained for hours for information gathering and warnings from medical people. Their lives will be disrupted. Hopefully, no vulnerable people will fall ill, but this incident illustrates how pandemics are started and spread. Selfish, foolish people won’t curtail their plans or take precautions. The innocent may suffer.

    I am of a “certain age” and have cancelled a long planned trip to Europe. I can’t take the risk of becoming ill or being stranded abroad. I still have to go about my life here at home, but I can be very careful to avoid crowds, to practice good hand hygiene and not put myself into positions where I am at risk. That’s nearly impossible when traveling abroad and riding in planes.

  60. Tack

    March 12, 2020 at 12:38 pm

    Shipcamein,

    My intent is not to have a continual back and forth, so this will be my last post on story. I respect that you and your family wish to take more precautions than others, myself included. But let’s be clear, the CDC is only recommending that those in the high risk category refrain from travel. To say that they are recommending that everyone reconsider their flying habits or schedule is false. As I stated above, there is too much hysteria with little understanding of what the facts really are. This is the most current information on travel:
    https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/travel-in-the-us.html

    They conclude with the following:

    “Depending on your unique circumstances, you may choose to delay or cancel your plans. If you do decide to travel, be sure to practice precautions to prevent getting and spreading COVID-19 and other respiratory diseases during travel.”

    By their own definition I am not in close contact to anyone in the high risk category. By their own definition, I am taking all recommended precautions. I appreciate the dialogue with you. I am disappointed that you weren’t able to refrain from snide remarks directed squarely toward me, ie.:

    “So however rare it is – whoever rarely gets it – whenever they rarely die – it will almost certainly be because of people like Tack.”
    ” why you aren’t concerned – at all – about spreading the virus yourself. Positively illogical.”

    During times of high stress and hysteria, it is convenient for folks to try to place blame. As I’ve stated above, I have decided to continue to live my life as it is, based upon the current rules that are out for minimizing the spread of this virus. I have the right to do what I believe is best for me. If rules change, then I will have to change my behavior and be compliant. In the mean time, you have the same right to alter your behavior based on what you believe is best for you. We have a difference of opinion, I wish you and your family good health. Cheers!

  61. shipcamein

    March 12, 2020 at 1:34 pm

    Tack, my apologies. My intent was not to be snide – and I know your intent is not to reply (which is not snide, just factual…).

    While I agree the CDC said “unique circumstances” my interpretation of that is – some people NEED to travel. For work. For health. For National Security. That type of unique circumstances.

    In my own hometown – Ohio – we have just closed public schools and limited public groups to 100 people. March madness was just cancelled. Two NBA players – not in the “high risk” group and almost certainly healthier than either of us – tested positive.

    I can restate what I said, but the substance remains: “However rare or risky it is – the most likely cause of transmission is unknowing carriers. Potential unknowing carrier – and let’s face – that’s everyone – should reconsider non-essential travel.

    I’m losing my retirement (as are many folks), my lively hood (matter of time – I travel), and my religion (no large groups – although, for now, church is still ok). I do not know how much of the data is “real” or hype or whatever- but one thing is certain: Practically every part of this was caused by unwitting carriers.

    Don’t be one. That’s for all of you, not (just) Tack. Again, Tack, my sincere apologies, crazy times here. Be well.

  62. aspidites

    March 12, 2020 at 2:28 pm

    I continue to be floored with how the great unwashed are reacting to this virus. In the past couple of days I think I’ve gotten emails from probably 50 different businesses telling me what they are doing to clean their locations – that has never happened before. I even got an email from a hardware retailer about coronavirus. I’m amazed that Amazon Netflix hasn’t told me that I need to start disinfecting my remote so that I don’t contract the virus when I watch Stranger Things.

    I’m changing NOTHING about my life. Even if I get sick, I’ll probably still go to work if I feel up to it – just like I would do with every other time I get sick. If I got Ebola then I might do something different, but not for the common cold. If I infect someone else, so what, that’s on them. If someone else infects me am I going to me mad at them? Nope, if I was concerned about getting it then I should have moved to Antarctica until this blew over. Probably the best thing to happen to this manufactured crisis is for Tom Hanks to get it. When he and his wife recover and show their faces again, perhaps people will start to calm down. The worst thing that is being affected is businesses who are doing less business because of the panic. I hope that they are able to weather this storm.

  63. jimbous

    March 12, 2020 at 5:03 pm

    Folks, this is pure human panic and that’ll do more harm than good.
    Today there was a line outside a supermarket probably close to over half an hour waiting just to get into the store. That’s not just a bit over the top, that’s way over the top. It reminds of Black Fridays of past!
    If during the course of the day there was just one infected person who wasn’t aware that he was, there goes a bunch of people likely infected. And those will infect others when they get back home/work/travel/etc.
    Such panic behavior does no good to anyone.
    It is much safer to go to a 24 hour supermarket after midnight to do the shopping than to go to the above supermarket with the half hour line. Or take other much safer ways to stock up on food and do shopping.

    And even then one can get infected by bringing home the tomato or banana or a package or a bottle of milk/juice/etc. that was handled by an infected person.
    So it’s best for everyone to just relax and go about their lives as normally as possible, but at the same time as prudently and safely as possible.
    Just make sure you wash your hands with soap & water, and perhaps your tomato too, then put on your plastic gloves to handle the rest of your shopping items, and if you have an ultraviolet light run it over the packages. Then throw your plastic gloves away!

    Of course, one should think twice about travelling to Milan, Seoul, or Paris, right now but probably should not cancel a trip to Jasper or Denali National Parks. Travelling as safely as possible given that particular trip risk is an individual choice.
    One doesn’t have to go the hazmat fashion route like Naomi Campbell, but just taking appropriate precautions one should be fine.
    Take a mask, purell lotion, a portable ultraviolet light, a small spray bottle of 90 degree alcohol, rubber gloves, or your teddy bear if it makes you feel comfortable.
    Also, sit near a window, turn on the overhead vents to blow away, and do not take anything from the flight attendants like drinks or nuts!
    Most likely you’ll have a safe trip and if lucky you may even see the Northern lights!

  64. musibi

    March 12, 2020 at 7:14 pm

    Found this article from Flyertalk email update. If the author wants to continue travel, best of luck and don’t whine if she gets caught in situation or worse with Coronavirus.

    I am more disappointed about Flytalk decided to publish this totally brainless article. To glorify Me Generation?

    Only way to contain this pandemic (yes, it is a freaking pandemic) is to limit all non-essential travels. A single infested person can spread this virus to dozens of people (Check out Diamond Princess cases).

  65. MimiB22

    March 13, 2020 at 4:45 am

    This is not a Fake pandemic, People do need to make some changes in their lifestyles, at least temporarily, to prevent this damned virus from spreading. Panic is counterproductive but caution and care are necessary to avoid things getting much worse. I’m absolutely floored that some are advocating going to work even if sick !! ” If I infect someone else, so what, that’s on them.” Talk about being an irresponsible dolt !

  66. aspidites

    March 13, 2020 at 8:28 am

    Fake, fake, fake, fake, fake. People love panic. Now everyone’s worried about testing. What difference does it make if someone is tested or not? Why does it matter. If you’re sick, getting tested doesn’t help you. I think if we start testing everyone, we’ll find out that a lot of people have already had it. I was sick about a month ago, I’ll bet I had it. The world will be fine. There is no need to panic. This is not the crisis that everyone wants. Geez people – get back to your pathetic lives and start accomplishing things instead of feeding into the media panic.

  67. jimbous

    March 13, 2020 at 11:12 am

    @ Musibi

    “Only way to contain this pandemic (yes, it is a freaking pandemic) is to limit all non-essential travels. A single infested person can spread this virus to dozens of people (Check out Diamond Princess cases).”

    Not true!
    At this point in time the genie is already out of the bottle, this is NOW a pandemic, and travel is NO LONGER the ONLY WAY to contain it.

    At this point the ONLY WAY to “contain” it is for each individual to isolate and stay home for about 4 weeks or until all human carriers get thru the course of the illness.
    China did it and it is already having relatively positive results.
    But China is China where the government can force you to isolate at home, and the West is NOT China and that’s a huge challenge here.

  68. PDog

    March 14, 2020 at 11:50 am

    I’m going to go out on a limb and say most of the commentors have *plenty* of toilet paper at home in their fortified bunkers.

    Meanwhile, I’m traveling. The world is currently on sale and destinations are empty.

  69. quintic

    March 16, 2020 at 9:17 am

    I would like to see a follow up article about author’s trip to Sri Lanka.

  70. jimbous

    March 17, 2020 at 3:05 pm

    It looks as if the author may have had to re-schedule the trip or not to have made it to Sri Lanka:

    From the NYT:
    Sri Lanka

    The Civil Aviation Authority of Sri Lanka announced Jaffna International Airport had ceased international operations on March 15. The measure is expected to last until March 30. The airport will continue to be open for domestic flights, according to the authority.

    Visas on arrival have been suspended, according to the U.S. Embassy in the country. No cruise passengers and crew are allowed to disembark. The country has banned travelers coming from Italy, Iran, South Korea, France, Germany, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Denmark, Netherlands, Austria, United Kingdom, Belgium and Norway.

    All passengers arriving in the country — regardless of origin — must undergo temperature screening and fill out a health declaration.

  71. boxedlunch

    March 18, 2020 at 4:04 pm

    Wonder if many of these comments will age well…

  72. chavala

    March 22, 2020 at 9:53 am

    Wow! Way to go with an really inappropriate article flyertalk! I’d love to hear back from this “author”. Maybe she’s already dead.

  73. aethelwulf

    March 24, 2020 at 8:06 pm

    “Why am I still flying?” Because you’re an idiot.

  74. ericb63

    April 3, 2020 at 10:04 am

    As of April 3:
    1,072,860 cases
    56,904 deaths.
    Keep flying girl!

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