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Editorial

To Fly or Not to Fly?

I am not the only one who has planned and postponed a trip to Greece four or five times since last year. I have now lost track – but the airline answering machines must recognize me by now.

Every time we were supposed to travel, the COVID infections here or in Greece were increasing rapidly, and as a result, the authorities were forced to impose a new ban or lockdown. So, what would be the point in traveling?

My biggest fear was the time spent on the plane. I kept asking myself how I could stay in an enclosed space with strangers for 10 hours.

So I postponed the trip for later. And then later became ever later. And later again…

Now it seems that the great fear of travel is disappearing judging by the number of those who are now flying.

Last Friday, 1.4 million people traveled to the U.S.

This is the largest number of visitors the country has seen  since last March when the pandemic began. (Something similar is happening on the streets lately. Traffic has returned and it has become suffocating once again).

The growing number of travelers could not come soon enough for the airlines – which were hit very badly – and for tourism in general, which was also hit hard internationally.

This new era has become possible thanks to the effective vaccines which have put people in more of a traveling mood as part of the return to normalcy.

The Center for Disease Control (CDC), however, continues to advise against unnecessary travel, even for those who have had both doses of the vaccine. The CDC’s director emphasized that after people travel on vacation, the number of cases increases sharply since only 10% of the world has been vaccinated.

Professor Marty Makary, of the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, disagrees. “A year of pre-vaccine experience has demonstrated that airplanes aren’t a source of spread. A study conducted for the defense department found that commercial planes have HEPA filtration and airflow that exceed the standards of a hospital operating room.”

He also noted that, “an unpublished study conducted by the Israeli Health Ministry and Pfizer showed that vaccination reduced transmission by 89% to 94% and almost totally prevented hospitalization and death, according to press reports.”

Makary said in a recent article that the answer to “the big question so many are asking: ‘What am I allowed to do after I’ve been vaccinated?’ is ‘Once a month has passed after your first shot, go back to normal.’”

 

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