I wrote this post one week ago. In the space of a week, so much has changed. The virus about which I wrote is spreading rapidly and is very deadly. People are hunkering down under government orders. Store shelves are bare as people shop for supplies for weeks so they won’t have to leave their homes to shop. Elections have been postponed, courts are closed, sports events are cancelled, gyms, bars, and restaurants are closed except for take out food. Theaters are shuttered, and public gatherings over ten people are prohibited in some places. Both public and private schools, universities, and places of worship have switch to online mode only. The government has issued extreme advisories against traveling. Until this all clears up with an antidote, vaccine, or treatment, travel is bound to be restricted for a long time. I’m home bound, planned and paid for trips cancelled. Until things get back to normal, we are suspending the blog. Here’s what I wrote only one week ago, much of which has been superseded by events.
I’ve heard a lot of stories about how the coronavirus and COVID-19 are affecting people. And, honestly, much of what I hear is crazy.
First of all, the TV news media and social sites hype bad news to get you to tune in. Remember, the coronavirus has only affected a tiny number of people. For some, it can be deadly or require time in the hospital. But even for most of them, it’s as bad as a bad flu attack. And, while we’re speaking of the flu, that disease already has a vaccine. And, still, people don’t get inoculated, claiming the shot isn’t effective or it’s some government conspiracy. Nonsense. The flu is a much bigger threat than the coronavirus. It has already killed thousands of people this year. Get the flu shot!
I read that people are buying toilet paper and many places have run out. This, for example, is sheer stupidity. The coronavirus has no effect on the need for toilet paper. There is no need to stock up.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends frequent, thorough hand washing and using sanitizers. There has been a run on sanitizers. But, really, you should already be washing your hands and using sanitizer to prevent the flu. So get with the program. It’s understandable that sanitizer supplies are running low, but there are simple recipes for making your own from materials that are available. Look online.
As far as the effect on travel…it has been devastating. Hotels report the worst drop off in demand since the 9/11 terror attack. Airlines are having to waive cancellation fees to get people to fly. The airlines are also stepping up their cleaning processes for aircraft to meet consumer demand and anxiety. Really, airlines, you should have been doing that all along.
This is an excellent time to travel because the crowds are down and the prices are, too. Just don’t go to areas where borders have been closed or where coronavirus is rampant because you may not be able to re-enter the United States without being quarantined. The CDC does not recommend going on cruise ships because if someone gets sick on a cruise ship, you are in a closed environment where it is more likely that you will catch the sickness. This just makes sense.
If you have health problems, you should always consider your risk of travel as your problems can always flare up. You might want to delay travel during the coronavirus scare because if you get that sickness while you already have another health problem, it will be that much harder to recover.
Whatever the case, healthy or sick, consider travel insurance whenever you travel, but especially during the coronavirus scare. Coverages vary, but such insurance probably will help pay medical bills incurred while traveling and will usually also include money to get you home to your own doctor and bed. These policies are not expensive (indicating the low risk) unless you buy insurance that also includes trip cancellation or trip interruption coverage. That insurance will be more expensive the more expensive your trip. Another coverage that adds a lot of cost to such insurance is what is known as “cancel for any reason.” This gives you the right to get most of your money back if you change your mind. Without it, coverage needs to be related to a sudden unexpected event, such as an illness that prevents you from traveling.
You can buy travel insurance when you purchase a flight ticket or Google and find many companies selling coverage. It’s a very difficult type of insurance to evaluate because each policy is different. All policies have important exclusions from coverage. Many people only learn about them only when they file a claim. For example, pre-existing health problems are frequently not covered and delays in travel are frequently not covered unless the delay is over twelve hours.
Knowing your risk tolerance, deciding whether to travel, and buying insurance will give you peace of mind in these hyped-up times.