When I canceled my trip to China last month and traveled to Buenos Aires, Argentina instead, I hoped that the novel coronavirus, now labeled COVID-19, would not escape the Asian continent. That unfortunately has not been the case, and the World Health Organization now reports more than 142,000 confirmed cases in 135 countries, areas or territories.

Map of COVID-19 cases by country.
Map of COVID-19 cases by country. | Image courtesy World Health Organization.

Having reached pandemic proportions, COVID-19 has upended global markets and the lives of people all around the world. Borders have closed, aircraft have been grounded, cities quarantined, sporting events canceled… These extreme measures aimed at containment have caused fear and panic in many populations.

Just last week, the President of the United States announced that foreign nationals would no longer be permitted to travel from Europe to the United States. Airlines have since cut their capacity, and most carriers have announced plans to temporarily suspend service to Asia, Europe and South America.

World health experts agree that quarantine and isolation is necessary to limit the spread of this deadly virus, and nations, states, cities and communities are closing themselves off as a result. More draconian measures are anticipated to ensure that opportunities for transmission are reduced or eliminated. The Washington Post’s simulation of viral transmission reveals why so-called “social distancing” is critical to public health in the midst of a pandemic.

With the spread of COVID-19 having been deemed a global pandemic, it is clearly time for each of us to reevaluate our travel plans over the next several months.

In addition to destinations restricting foreign travelers, many other tourist attractions, theme parks, cruise lines, casinos, hotels and restaurants have temporarily halted operations. In the very near future, I expect domestic air travel within the United States to be either prohibited or severely curtailed. From now through the beginning of summer, COVID-19 will continue to threaten people across the world and we should not expect to travel.

We each have a responsibility to use our best judgment in determining when to enter public spaces, and we must all follow the CDC’s recommendations for preventing illness. If you are sick or exhibiting any symptoms of the Coronavirus, please remain at home and do not come into contact with others.

Later this week, I was scheduled to take an overnight trip to New York City for an event, but have elected to cancel my trip and all travel for the next month. If you are traveling in the coming days or weeks and wish to postpone or cancel your trip, I suggest that you consider taking advantage of the Coronavirus cancellation policies instituted by many airlines.

It is my sincere hope that we will be successful in defeating this virus with a widespread commitment by every person to look out for the best interests of their fellow man. If we can successfully implement social distancing, I’m confident we’ll be back out on the beach, cruising the high seas and exploring new destinations all around the world by summertime.

Featured image courtesy CDC/Douglas E. Jordan.

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