BOSTON (CBS) – The CDC says getting together with family and friends whom you don’t live with is risky for likely coronavirus infection, so the agency is urging Americans to stay home for the holiday. For that reason, Logan Airport is not nearly as busy as it usually is in the days leading up to Thanksgiving.
But, some people are still taking to the airways to get home for the holidays despite warnings from the CDC.
“We’ve been in our 800-square foot apartment for most of this, so it’s exciting to get out and come back and to be with family,” said Jessica Johanson, who just walked off a flight from Chicago with her dog Dexter in tow.
Johanson and Dexter are now heading to Foxborough. “I’m here through the holidays, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years, just quarantining with the family,” said Johanson.
Quarantining is exactly what all visitors and returning residents must do, unless they get a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours. Visitors are also required to fill out a travel form before they arrive.
People from low-risk states like New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine and Hawaii are exempt.
UMass Memorial Dr. Richard Ellison said “traveling today carries a higher risk” and encouraged travelers to continuously wear a mask. He said even though airplanes have good ventilation systems, it’s still not enough if an infected person is sitting in your row. “If you absolutely have to travel, you want to try and do as much social distancing as possible, wearing a mask continuously while you’re on an airplane makes the most sense to me,” he said.
Health experts say it’s not the act of traveling that’s most dangerous for virus spread, but what happens once we break our well-established social bubbles.
“Rarely, I could say almost never, is it 50 to 100 million Americans leaving these bubbles, the people they live with, their college roommates whatever it may be, and mixing with totally different groups of people across the entire country,” said. Dr. Mark Siedner, an infectious disease expert at Mass General Hospital.
Dr. Siedner said no amount of hand sanitizer and masks inside an airport can prevent the consequences of what happens once people land at their destination.
“This has the potential to be an epidemic apocalypse that otherwise is not really possible without this amount of intermixing between groups of people,” Dr. Siedner said.
Dr. Ellison is encouraging people to keep their mask on at all times while visiting family and friends, and to only take it off while eating and drinking.