Taking a Road Trip? Here’s Your Checklist

This article has not been edited and the article was originally published on The Conversation. https://theconversation.com/planning-a-road-trip-in-a-pandemic-11-tips-for-before-you-leave-on-the-road-and-when-you-arrive-149620

Planning a road trip in a pandemic? 11 tips for before you leave, on the road and when you arrive
November 26, 2020

Author – Thea van de Mortel
Professor, Nursing and Deputy Head (Learning & Teaching), School of Nursing and Midwifery, Griffith University

As restrictions ease around the country and the prospect of travel beckons, many of us will be planning road trips for the holiday season.

To ensure your trip is memorable in the best rather than the worst way, here are some things you and your fellow travellers can do to reduce the risk of becoming infected with, or spreading, COVID on your trip.

Before you go

  1. Check for any travel or other COVID-specific restrictions or rules in the areas you will be travelling through or to, before you go. These can change rapidly and may include restrictions on how far you can travel, how many people per square metre are allowed in public spaces, and whether you need border passes or to wear a mask. Each state or territory has its own health department or government COVID website you can check.
  2. Don’t take COVID with you. If anyone in your group has COVID-like symptoms, however mild, it is important to be tested and cleared for COVID before leaving. Common symptoms may include fever or chills, muscle aches, sore throat, cough, runny nose, difficulty breathing, new loss of taste or smell, and vomiting or diarrhoea.
  3. Pack masks, disinfectant wipes and hand sanitiser. The two most likely ways of catching COVID are inhaling viral particles an infected person sheds when they cough, sneeze, laugh, talk or breathe; and ingesting particles by touching contaminated objects and then touching your face or food. Masks (and social distancing) can help reduce the former risk, while avoiding touching your face, frequent hand hygiene and cleaning surfaces can reduce the latter. So pack masks, wipes and hand sanitiser. Hand sanitiser should contain at least 60% alcohol.
  4. Pack your own pillows and linen. We know people infected with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID, can shed virus onto linen and pillows (and other surfaces), even when asymptomatic. We also know respiratory viruses can penetrate pillow covers and get into the microfibre stuffing. So you might want to consider bringing your own pillows and linen.

On your trip

  1. Use disinfectant wipes to clean high-touch surfaces in your hire car. These would include door and window handles or buttons, light switches, seat adjuster controls, radio controls, the steering wheel, glove box button, gear/drive and handbrake levers, rear-view mirrors and mirror controls.
  2. How about singing in the car? The more vigorous the activity, the greater the opportunity to release droplets and aerosols and the further these will travel. So, laughing and singing will release more of these than talking, and talking will release more than breathing. However, if you are travelling in a family group, or with your housemates, then you have been in close contact with one another at home and the additional risk would be low.
  3. Maintain social distancing at service stations. Leave at least 1.5 metres between you and the next person while paying for fuel, ordering food and when using the bathroom. Make sure you wash or sanitise your hands after touching surfaces such as petrol pumps, door handles, bathroom taps, and before getting back in your car.
    Filling car up with petrol at service station
    Wash or sanitise your hands after using the petrol pump. Shutterstock
  4. Pay with cards rather than cash to avoid touching money. Many people can handle bills and coins over a long duration of time, providing many opportunities to transfer disease-causing microbes from one person to the next. Using contactless payment also helps maintain social distancing.
  5. It’s safer to eat outdoors than indoors if stopping for a snack or lunch. That’s because large volumes of air dilute the density of viral particles in the air. Evidence from a study of COVID clusters in Japan suggests the chance of transmitting COVID is more than 18 times higher inside than outside.

When you arrive

  1. Is your hotel or rented accommodation COVID-safe? Ask the accommodation provider what steps they have taken to make the place less conducive to spreading COVID. For example, have they introduced extra cleaning or disinfection?
  2. Use disinfectant wipes in rented accommodation to clean high-touch surfaces such as door handles, light switches, cupboard handles, taps and toilet flush buttons. You can also put dishes and cutlery through the dishwasher on a hot cycle. This is because the virus can remain viable (able to cause infection) on surfaces for many days.

Following these simple steps can help to keep your trip memorable in the best possible way. Happy holidays!

Copyright © 2010–2020, The Conversation US, Inc.

U.S. Election Discussion Thread — Climate Etc.

by Judith Curry No words. The only thing crazier than the U.S. election is this morning’s hurricane forecast. I have no words re the election.  For a diversion, here is my hurricane forecast for Eta. Summary:  current: TERRIBLE.  forecast: CRAZY Latest from NHC (7 am EST): 145 mph max sustained winds, min pressure 936 mb, […]

U.S. election discussion thread — Climate Etc.

I am re-posting this article by Judith Curry. Yes, the headline is somewhat misleading but I’m glad I clicked and read her post. There’s another hurricane coming.

Admit it. We all need a diversion from the election.

A majority of young adults in the U.S. live with their parents for the first time since the Great Depression

In July, 52% of young adults resided with one or both of their parents, up from 47% in February, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of monthly Census Bureau data. The number living with parents grew to 26.6 million, an increase of 2.6 million from February. The number and share of young adults living with their parents grew across the board for all major racial and ethnic groups, men and women, and metropolitan and rural residents, as well as in all four main census regions. Growth was sharpest for the youngest adults (ages 18 to 24) and for White young adults.

A majority of young adults in the U.S. live with their parents for the first time since the Great Depression — https://pewrsr.ch/351SVs1

And to think the number of young people living with their parents was based upon data from July. This percentage will go higher since a lot of kids are moving back home from college earlier than expected.

The problem with college during the coronavirus pandemic is not just what’s happening on campuses and in college towns. It’s also that colleges may end up spreading the virus to dozens of other communities. In recent weeks, as students have returned to campus, thousands have become infected. And some colleges have responded by sending students home, including those known to have the virus.

Last week, after hundreds of students came down with the virus, the State University of New York at Oneonta ended in-person classes and sent students home. Colorado College, North Carolina State, James Madison (in Virginia) and Chico State (in California) have taken similar steps. At Illinois State, Georgia Tech and the University of Georgia, administrators have encouraged some students who have tested positive to leave campus, so they don’t infect other students, and return home.

These decisions to scatter students — rather than quarantine them on campus — have led to widespread criticism. “It’s the worst thing you could do,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, the federal government’s leading infectious-disease expert, said on NBC. “When you send them home, particularly when you’re dealing with a university where people come from multiple different locations, you could be seeding the different places with infection.” – Zach Morin, a University of Georgia student, told WXIA, a local television station, “Once it is open and people are there and spreading it, it doesn’t make sense to send it across the nation.” Susan Dynarski, a University of Michigan economist, wrote on Twitter that “unloading students onto home communities” was “deeply unethical.”

There are no easy answers for colleges, because creating on-campus quarantines brings its own challenges. At the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, one student who tested positive — Brianna Hayes — said that no employee checked on her during her week in isolation. “Feverish and exhausted from the virus, she made four trips up and down staircases to move her bedding and other belongings to her isolation room,” The Times’s Natasha Singer writes, in a story about campus quarantines.

Still, many experts say that the colleges that chose to reopen their campuses despite the risks, often for financial reasons, have a moral responsibility to do better. “Universities are not taking responsibility for the risks they are creating,” Sarah Cobey, an epidemiologist at the University of Chicago, said.

Last spring, the meatpacking industry became a vector for spreading the disease, when it quickly reopened and caused hundreds of new infections. This fall, higher education may end up being a similar vector.

David Leonhardt – The New York Times The Morning newsletter email 09.09.20

Clusterfuck.

How Some People Pass the Time While Waiting for Covid-19 Test Results

With long testing delays in other states, some learn they tested positive after starting vacations in Maine.

The proportion of COVID-19 tests from out-of-staters that are coming back positive in Maine has increased throughout July, with nonresidents now testing positive in Maine at a rate more than four times that of residents. Though the numbers are small – about 2.8 positive tests a day – they account for over 11 percent of recent new cases in the state.

Bar Harbor hospital sounds warning on undetected COVID-infected visitors

HT – https://www.nakedcapitalism.com/

We are doomed.

Everything is Bigger in Texas

Today’s post is not intended to offend anyone or to plainly demonstrate how dumb some Texans are.  I married a Texan.  My two most successful projects are Texans.  I lived for over 20 years in Texas.  But you can’t make this stuff up:

Nearly 22 new cases per 100k people (7 day moving average) as of 07.02.20

In Galveston county less than an hour away by car:

54 new cases per 100k people (7 day moving average) as of 07.02.20

While down at the border:

EMERGENCY ALERT:  STARR COUNTY RESIDENTS:  Today it is with a heavy heart that we announce that we have had 18 deaths in Starr County due to COVID-19, and we had two (2) severely ill patients flown out of the valley for medical assistance, one was flown to San Antonio and one to Dallas. The local and valley hospitals are at full capacity and have no more beds available.

I urge all of our residents to please shelter-in-place, wear face coverings, practice social distancing and AVOID GATHERINGS.
– Your Judge Eloy Vera

Nearly 66 new cases per 100k people (7 day moving average) as of 07.02.20

Meanwhile in Oklahoma County:

No fireworks today.  We’ll have a quiet July 4th, burgers on the grill, potatoes, slaw and some beer.

13 new cases per 100k people (7 day moving average) as of 07.02.20

All statistics are from the Harvard Global Health Institute.  See my previous post Do You Live in a Covid-19 Hotspot?

And if you are offended by my comments on your intelligence I don’t care.

Carnival Cruises Posts 2Q $4.4 Billion Loss

I’ve been on several cruises in my life.  As an excessive weight challenged individual cruises have always been problematic for me.  Too much food.  Too much alcohol.  The last opportunity to join relatives on a cruise was a few years ago.  I declined to participate.  I just don’t like cruises.

But I also don’t like witnessing businesses crash and burn.  Stunning number.

Source article link.

Cruising

COVID-19 Overwhelms Border ICUs

COVID-19 Overwhelms Border ICUs

El Centro Regional Medical Center was so overwhelmed by COVID-19 patients it had to divert some to health care facilities in San Diego, National City and elsewhere. There have been more than 2,025 confirmed cases in Imperial County, which has the highest COVID-19 hospitalization rate in the state, said Andrea Bowers, special projects coordinator for the county health department.

“We know that our community has family on both sides of the border, so we’re relating the uptick to Mother’s Day weekend,” said Suzanne Martinez, assistant chief nursing officer at the medical center. “That means more risk as people travel back and forth over the border.”

Mothers’ Day weekend.

Hmm…then there’s Memorial Day weekend.

Followed by protests (not a political statement, just an observation of large crowds).

We are doomed.

 

House Hunters International (Pandemic Version) – Mexico

Citation: California Border Hospitals Hit by Surge in COVID-19 Cases From Mexico – Medscape – May 20, 2020.

Here’s the link:

California Border Hospitals Hit by Surge in COVID-19 Cases From Mexico

Here’s an excerpt:

Imperial County has registered fewer than 800 known coronavirus infections and just 15 deaths to date. Baja California, by comparison, has reported 3,458 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 134 deaths.  Two main medical centers in Baja’s state capital – Mexicali Hospital General and IMSS Regional Hospital 30 – are both “saturated” by the outbreak, Mario Cervantes, head of relief services for the Red Cross of Mexicali, told Reuters.  Some arriving ambulances have had to wait hours to deliver new patients, while others were turned away altogether, he said.  Baja health department officials said neither Mexicali hospital had exhausted its bed space, but Dr. Rafael Abril, president of the Mexicali College of Surgeons, told local news in April that half the IMSS hospital’s doctors were infected with COVID-19, which could lead to staffing shortages.