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The second holiday season during the COVID-19 pandemic is here, and things are looking significantly better than they did last year. With effective vaccines and booster shots, lower hospitalization rates, and fewer travel restrictions, people are beginning to travel again. But how is holiday travel affecting COVID-19 case rates? Read on below to find out.
Travel numbers compared to last year
Travelers all across the US and the world have been emboldened by the high vaccination numbers, end of lockdowns, and the apparently declining threat level of COVID-19. Consequently, there’s been a huge rise in the number of flights, hotel stays, and vacation rentals from this time last year.
In fact, some vacation rental agencies have reported up to a 469% increase in the number of vacation rentals from December 2020 to December 2021. The TSA is conducting an average of two and a half times as many screenings each day this year as on corresponding days last year, and many foreign countries are opening up to travel again after long months of complete closure.
Case numbers compared to last year
It’s clear that COVID-19 case numbers are rising with the travel numbers, but that may be a necessary step in the process of getting back to normal life. According to a recent CDC report, the seven-day national average in new coronavirus cases increased by 18% over the recent Thanksgiving week.
While this news may seem bad, the hospitalization rate for the week was down over 60% from last year, and the average death rate has gone down by more than half. The development of a safe and effective vaccine has significantly reduced the threat COVID-19 poses, even if case numbers still seem particularly high this Thanksgiving season.
Restrictions on travel
In response to the again rising COVID-19 case numbers, the US government and other governments have implemented new guidelines, including restrictions on travel. As of now, anyone flying into the US is required to have a negative COVID-19 test result within 24 hours of their travels, regardless of their vaccination status or nationality.
How to stay safe while traveling
If you’re planning to travel this holiday season, make sure you take the proper precautions to keep yourself and your loved ones safe. The CDC now recommends that everyone aged 18 or older get a booster shot, and the agency has recently approved vaccines for children as young as five.
You should wear a mask when traveling by air or consider driving to avoid the risk of being around so many people on a plane. Socially distance whenever possible, and consider getting tested before going to family gatherings or Christmas parties.
As you prepare for your holiday travels, just be wise and keep safety as your number one priority. Consider getting vaccinated, as scientific research suggests that vaccines are the best protection you can give yourself. The pandemic isn’t over yet, but things are definitely looking up, with vaccination rates in the U.S. now rising to over 60%. Stay safe out there!