In 2019, the only Corona affecting your travel plans came in a bottle. Countries all over the world instituted shelter-in place, travel restrictionist and even bans on short-term renting. Most cities in the US are starting to relax restrictions. Some think it’s too soon while others think we’ve overreacted and infringed upon basic freedoms.
According to an article from Vox, it took Wuhan nearly 3 months of intense lockdown to achieve an R0 value of 0.3. That means for every three people who have Covid-19, one new person gets it. This R-naught value is known as the rating for a disease’s ability to spread. A value below 0.5 is generally accepted to mean a virus will die out of a population.
After enduring more than 2 months of lockdown, California’s R0 value is still about 0.9. While this is better than the 3.6 some experts estimated it could have been [and what Italy & New York had], an R0 value of 1 still means this virus is not going anywhere anytime soon. As one person defeats the virus, another is infected. It’s important to note that California’s lockdown, as intense as it may have felt for those experiencing it, was no where near as strict as Wuhan, New Zealand or Taiwan, who have all brought their case counts to near zero.
As summer weather arrives, beaches, campsites and other recreational areas are reopening. These recreational areas fill with people desperate to get out of the house. Some of these people think they’ve already had the virus and may have little concern for following safety guidelines. Some are simply over the confines of their homes, and expect officials to enact and enforce protocols to keep them safe. Others adhere strictly to guidelines, and are frustrated by those ignoring guidelines, seeing them as potentially prolonging this shut down way of life. A deepening conflict between the cautious and the cavalier will make for a tricky culture to navigate.
Data suggests this virus is absolutely going to be part of this summer. We don’t yet know if we’ll be able to keep the R0 value under control as things start to re-opening, or if it’ll spike back to pandemic levels. Even with an R0 value staying below 1, we need to be mindful that travelers will be thinking more about their health and safety. Much of the future is uncertain, but two things seem abundantly clear: People are concerned about this virus, but they are also concerned about getting out of their homes and catching up on recreational time with friends and family.
Whether you find yourself aligning more with the cautious or cavalier, both sides will be concerned with cleanliness and sanitation. People will seek to control any part of this chaotic environment they can when making travel arrangements, and will be heavily influenced by their perception of how safety compares between your living room and theirs.