OAKLAND, Calif. – Many American’s are trying to figure out what they’re going to do during a holiday season marred by a rise in coronavirus cases.
Health experts are advising to stay home, keep your family circle tight, and meet virtually to help stop the spread.
The numbers vary, but recent polls suggest roughly 50% of Americans will be traveling this holiday season.
A forecast model put together by AAA in mid-October anticipates that fewer than 50 million American’s will travel for Thanksgiving, a drop from 55 million last year, which is the biggest one-year decline since the 2008 recession.
With COVID-19 cases rising many people are grappling with the question: should I stay or should I go?
Planes, trains, and automobiles that are usually packed with holiday travelers are not expected to be so full this year.
A recent study suggests air travel is actually safe, but that’s not necessarily people’s biggest concern, especially since most travel by car.
The bigger issue is will the reward of holiday travel outweigh the risk, a question Amadu Damago in Oakland struggles with as he ponders visiting loved ones in Africa.
“I’m concerned about catching it. That’s my concern because it’s just a risk that I’m taking. So, I need to make a big decision, whether to take the risk or to stay,” said Amadu Tijani Damago.
During a Facebook townhall with Santa Clara County Supervisor, Dave Cortese, Health Officer, Dr. Sara Cody, was unambiguous when asked whether she’s concerned about what the holidays may bring.
“Yes, emphatically yes, the upcoming holidays are going to be very challenging and we are very concerned we are heading into the holidays with this rapid rise and transmission,” said Dr. Sara Cody, Santa Clara County Health Officer.
“I really miss my cousins right now,”said Declan Bair.
Declan Bair yearns to see family in New York, and his mom has already bought plane tickets.
But now they’re researching whether a private car on a train might be safer, or maybe they just won’t go at all, especially since Gov. Gavin Newsom is urging visitors and residents to voluntarily self-quarantine for 14-days after entering California from out of state.
“It’s definitely making the needle tip more to the fact that it might be more unlikely that we’ll travel, although I don’t wanna say that for sure,” said Katie Bair.
At Oakland airport, a business traveler has already made a decision on holiday travel.
It will be Hawaii with her inlaws for Thanksgiving, then Texas for Christmas to see family, many of whom she says work in health care.
“So I just know I can take personal responsibility for me and wearing a mask for me and my family is not a big deal. I know how to protect me, it protects other people and I just have to have that viewpoint,” said Rebekah Paz.
Since there is no order against non-essential travel, it really comes down to a personal decision.
But that personal decision has the potential to affect society at large.