Omicron is here. Should you cancel your trip?

David Freedman, president-elect of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, said the type of mask you wear when traveling is especially important. Dr. Freedman discourages people from wearing cloth or homemade masks; N95 or KN95 masks are preferable, he said.

It is difficult to assess the likelihood that a traveler will encounter an infected person on a flight to their destination. This is especially important to consider when traveling with children too young to be vaccinated or to wear a mask. Domestic flights within the United States do not require testing or proof of vaccination. Some countries and airlines require both. Others don’t.

Creating a shorter testing window – as the United States recently did for anyone entering the country from overseas, regardless of nationality – makes sense, Dr Freedman said. Tests three days before a flight may miss those who incubate the virus and could be contagious and test positive by the time they board their plane. He said a flight with a PCR testing requirement is also less risky than a flight requiring antigen testing. But, he added, there is potentially more risk of transmission in airports than in airplanes, with their advanced air filtration systems. So much is beyond the control of even a meticulous planner.

Part of the challenge that many people struggle with is how to weigh other variables, such as the mental health benefits of celebrating Christmas as a family or the professional benefits that might come from interacting face-to-face with coworkers. . It is easier for governments to define “essential travel” than for individuals, said Niebrzydowski, travel risk analyst.

Tatiana Torres, 37, who lives in Orange County, Calif., Is among those struggling with this equation. Ms Torres, a retail facilities coordinator for a Canada-based company, is supposed to be there for a working holiday party next week. Because she started in January, she has never been in the same room as her colleagues. Meeting them finally seems precious to her, but she fears finding herself trapped in Canada, far from her sick cat.

“I’m just thinking, is it worth it for something so frivolous?” She said on Tuesday. She has not yet decided whether or not to cancel.

The fear of getting stuck is not unreasonable, travel risk experts have said. If a person is positive, they will not be able to re-enter most countries, including the United States, until they are negative. Throughout the pandemic, many airlines have canceled flights at critical times, leaving people stranded for days or even months.

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