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And now for the Back Story on …
Our Tripped Up column, which answers questions about travel, gave one of our readers this advice about her plans to hop on a flight to see her grandchildren after her second vaccine shot, and what health and safety precautions she still needs to take.
Is it safe to travel by subway, train, bus or plane after I have been vaccinated? What are the proper protocols for protecting others?
Even before the vaccines arrived, mass transit was rarely labeled by health officials with blanket terms like “safe” or “unsafe.” Studies conducted over the summer suggested that when certain criteria are met, subways are safer, from a viral-transmission standpoint, than one might assume. A trove of new research indicates that the chance of contracting the coronavirus while flying is low. For trains and planes alike, the focus is — and will continue to be — concrete, actionable measures that mitigate risk, like high-efficiency air filtration, enhanced disinfection, mask requirements, social distancing and capacity limits.
The basic protocols for protecting others (masks, distancing, hand-washing) haven’t changed.
“I know it’s frustrating, especially for grandparents, because it almost feels like the goal posts have been moved again,” Dr. Keri N. Althoff, an associate professor of epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, said. “But we’ve always said that you cannot just rip your mask off and run around like it’s 2019 once you’re vaccinated. We’ve all learned not only how important our individual health is, but also how interconnected we are.”
That’s it for this briefing. See you next time.
Carole Landry helped write this briefing. Theodore Kim and Jahaan Singh provided the break from the news. You can reach the team at [email protected]
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