Bye Bye Travel, Hello Social Distancing

Filed Under: Advice

I think it’s safe to say that the events of the past several weeks have been surreal and unprecedented, to put it mildly.

What many originally thought of as a regional situation has turned into a global pandemic. I feel like at first it was one of those things that you see on TV, and then think to yourself “well surely that’s not going to happen to us.”

Yesterday Ford and I made a decision that I wanted to share here, because we’ve both come a long way in our perspective on this in a short time.

Let me start with the bottom line…

We canceled our travel and are social distancing

Yesterday afternoon we made the decision to cancel all of our travel for the next several weeks. Not just that, but we decided we’re going to be “social distancing” pretty hard.

We canceled all upcoming appointments, we’re not going out to meals or any social events, and really the extent of our contact with the outside world for the foreseeable future will be taking Winston out. Heck, as I write this I’m preparing my first-ever from scratch home cooked meal (I don’t cook, in case you didn’t know).

To be clear, I’m not preparing a bunker and making castles out of toilet paper, thinking the world is going to end. But I’m simply living my life, minus the whole leaving home part…

Suffice to say that as far as Winston is concerned, this is the greatest thing ever.

Why we made this decision

A couple of things upfront:

  • Ford and I are healthy, so we’re not really worried about our own safety, even if we were to get coronavirus
  • While my mom is sick, I didn’t have plans to see her in the immediate future, because she has visitors from Germany

Our logic for arriving at this decision is pretty simple — we feel like the best thing we can do for the world at this point is essentially isolate ourselves from it as much as possible. That minimizes our chances of getting it, and much more importantly, minimizes our chances of giving it to others.

The more reading I’ve done about this, the more it’s clear to me that this is the responsible thing to do:

  • Countries that have responded quickly and have taken the situation seriously have been able to keep the situation under control pretty well, all things considered, while countries that have kept a “business as usual” approach have seen a massive increase in cases, and have struggled to control the situation
  • Despite what President Trump says, I don’t think the US has taken “early and intense action” to stop the spread of coronavirus (just look at how few people have been tested)
  • Presumably the recorded number of cases in the US is only a small fraction of the real number of people with coronavirus, and it’s even worse that so many people probably have it and don’t know about it, because they’re spreading it to others

I’m sure many people have read it by now, but this Medium story gives us a numbers-based explanation of the situation.

Why it took me a while to get to this point

I’ll gladly admit that it took me longer than it should have to come to this conclusion. Not that I was committed to taking any other trips in the next couple of weeks, but up until yesterday I left options open.

My logic fundamentally came down to:

  • Believing that traveling to (fairly) low risk areas isn’t materially more dangerous than my day-to-day life (which includes going to crowded restaurants, etc.)
  • Believing that international travel to low risk destinations is no worse than domestic travel
  • I’m not too worried about international travel restrictions, because I’m someone who can easily reschedule travel, change tickets, etc.
  • We’re healthy, and won’t be seeing my mom anytime soon

But during that time I was essentially ignoring that the right thing to do is probably to just isolate ourselves for at least some amount of time… which is what we’re doing now.

Personally I still wouldn’t feel unsafe traveling to most places right now, but I’d just feel it’s irresponsible unless truly necessary.

We’ll see what summer travel holds

As of now we’ve canceled trips to Chicago, Peru, New Orleans, and Aspen, which has us grounded until mid-April.

At that point we’ll reevaluate the situation. We’re supposed to go to Namibia in late April and I’m still hoping that works out, but I’m not counting on it.

I’m really hoping that things get better by summer. My mom has gone through 18 rounds of chemo and is finally ending treatment in April, and this summer is her chance to travel. We have all kinds of travel planned with her, and I’m hoping we can take as many of these trips as possible. We will be monitoring for that over the next several weeks.

Bottom line

Everyone needs to decide what’s best for them and what they believe in. We’ve decided that the best thing we can do right now is to just stay in our home and out of everyone’s way. Not because I’m worried about health implications for us, but because I’m worried about health implications for others.

To be clear, I’m not even suggesting this is entirely selfless. I have a motive — I want things to return to normal as quickly as possible, and avoiding human contact as much as possible is the best thing I can do to help make that happen.

Throughout this I think it’s also important to accept that this sucks for everyone (except pets, and those manufacturing toilet paper and hand sanitizer), it’s kind of depressing, and definitely not fun. But I guess we’re all kind of in this together…

What approach are you taking in light of the current situation?

  1. I liked that medium article too – very informative. A lot of talk of this here in Europe. I do have to travel to Beijing next weekend, though.

  2. Interested to know when you make the call on Namibia. I have a once in a lifetime safari planned early April, ATL-JNB Delta One RT, everything besides the flight non-refundable. Will hold out until the last possible minute.

  3. Bravo. Maybe a late decision but good decisions won’t come too late

    If you see how Singapore Taiwan Hong Kong Vietnam Macau…. have managed the situation, this could provide an insight for people in the States

  4. Thank you!

    Watching the cases spread to other countries – a lot of them have been from healthy people carrying the virus low risk destinations. And then it spreads very slowly until it hits a flexion point of exponential growth. Everyone needs to do their part in this.

  5. Bravo to you for taking a well-thought out approach to this issue.

    People forget that it’s not about themselves getting sick, but potentially infecting others who are vulnerable. You mention your mom, but if you or Ford were infected, then you both are walking vectors and exposing other people’s mothers (and fathers) to the virus.

    You and Ford will likely recover, but the same can’t be said for those other people.

  6. Short term pain for long-term gain. If we all do this, we can start getting back to normal by late Spring. If not, things will be much worse for much longer.

  7. Hey Ben since you are in Miami if you are looking at some socializing, I live in Key Biscayne, isolated from the crowds, nice beach and very calm. I traveled for over 25+ all over the world would be great to exchange notes. Whenever I want to try a new airline or hotel I search your site for ideas then show my wife for her approval…..

  8. @ ryan — Thank you. We only recently did a DNA test (he’s a rescue), and he’s mix of chihuahua, pomeranian, shitzu, and poodle. Not what we were expecting, and I’m actually still kind of skeptical. The shelter where we got him claimed he’s a terrier mix…

  9. @ Lou — Probably going to just wait it out. I can cancel the flights until last minute, and there are no cancelation deadlines coming up soon (most of it is already within the cancelation deadline).

  10. Flatten the curve!

    Good work. We all need to do our part, even if it weirdly involves not doing really anything. I will also say that I plan on contacting neighbors, especially elderly, who may really need to stay isolated for their own personal safety (not just community), and help them with groceries, etc. A lot of them may not know about/use delivery services, or the delivery services may be overwhelmed or unable to staff. Also concerned about things like picking up medicine refills, etc.

  11. Thanks Lucky.

    I will be checking out from travel sites for a while. See you soon when things are back to normal!

  12. NEW BLOG, how to earn miles and points at home during this phase so when it is over, we have amassed hundred of thousand points and miles.

    I for one, might catch it and have little or no symptoms, but I do not want to pass it on to someone’s mother, or father or grandparent and then their life is taken away prematurely.

  13. Thank you for saying this and I hope it inspires others to follow your example. It sucks a lot but we all need to be doing this for a little while at least.

  14. That’s not a home cooked meal, that’s turning the oven on

    The wife arrived home from FRA (actually just north in an area that had the first COVID-19 cases in Germany) on the night of the 3rd.

    We are fortunate to live out in the middle of nowhere and don’t have to interact with anyone for days on end so we have been self-quarantined since she arrived home, per our PCP’s recommendation.

    I did venture out this morning at 5:30am to the local grocery to stock up again. Place was deserted but still did self checkout to maintain social distancing from the few employees there. Other than that we’ve isolated ourselves, cancelled all of our travel (rebooked all till the end of the year) and even forgone the liquor store as it doesn’t open until 9am and for right now sadly, I’m not trusting anyone around me.

    (Grocery manager told me that they received a pallet of hand sanitizer yesterday morning. Older woman tried to buy the entire pallet and threw a fit when she was told the limit was two. No toilet paper, no rubbing alcohol, meat section almost empty (though that could have been because it was 6am) ).

  15. My ask is simply for people to leave the freakin’ politics out of this discussion. The conversation would have been the same no matter who was in office. The CDC not being prepared is likely not a problem of this administration, nor perhaps the one before it. Preparation for this type of ‘PANDEMIC’ (not endemic) takes years, maybe decades, and decisions made 20 yrs ago could sure have changed where we are at today. Also requires a collaborative party approach (I am willing to bet that bills submitted from both sides of the isle over the years have involved cutting CDC spending). Some things like this you just can’t be prepared for, and unfortunately it takes falling on your face to wake you up and assure you are ready for the next event (aka – the horrific events of 9/11).

  16. “The more reading I’ve done about this, the more it’s clear to me that this is the responsible thing to do:”

    Well, then you’re reading the wrong stuff….obviously!

  17. Great thought leadership here, Ben! We’re doing the same, sadly, but necessary for the common good.

  18. Great call! Have a trip to NYC next week (and too much going on to cancel), but after that, no trips until May, be it work or pleasure. Of course, it all depends on the developments, so May might be too soon!

    Stay safe, and if you find Lysol wipes in SoFL, let us know! (Can’t find them anywhere)

  19. Lucky: Nice article and apprecuate the good path for most to follow.
    Hope your Namibia plans can happen, and I’m right behind you in mid-May for Kruger in SA. My concern is the Pre-Paid Safari Camps, which go to 25% non-refundable late March. Mid-April 50%. Have Travel Ins, but with all this going on, who knows what they will do??

  20. @Mr. Obvious What you say is very ironic as Trump has literally taken this pandemic as a platform to play politics. He is more worried about the optics of the situation than the Public Health Safety. For weeks he’s said that there are very few cases and the number will go down (all while having a shortage of testing kits), he’s insisted that a cure would be found in a matter of months when in reality it could be 12 to 18 months. Just last Monday at the CDC he said anyone who wants testing kits can have them and that the test kits are “beautiful”. Why is HE playing politics and spreading false information, creating a false sense of security when he should be leading this country out of this crisis.

  21. THANK YOU BEN! So happy to see you setting a good example for other travelers/readers. This is is the smart thing to do and I’m glad you came around.

  22. Good decision given everything going on.
    Looking forward to non-travel posts related at times like these, like adventures of Winston.
    Hopefully things won’t get like how bad they are in Italy.

  23. Well, living in Italy, I’m staying put for right now. Mostly because the government is forcing us, but also partly for the reasons you are.

    Hope warmer weather clears this up a bit so everyone can get back to daily life

  24. @Ben

    “Our logic for arriving at this decision is pretty simple — we feel like the best thing we can do for the world at this point is essentially isolate ourselves from it as much as possible.”

    The comment is a bit over the top, isn’t it? Whether you decide to curtail travel plans or not, it’s egotistical to think that you are doing something “for the world”.

  25. Still living my life as normal. Just having to deal with insane lines at the grocery store preventing me from getting normal amounts of groceries. I won’t change anything over media scare tactics. H1N1 was far worse with non of these extreme overreactions. Just wash your hands more if you’re paranoid.

  26. As someone who has immunocompromised family members and others with chronic conditions, I appreciate the example you are setting.

  27. Love those Publix Organic Cheese Pizzas!!! I fix them up with fresh mushrooms and those hot pepper rings. As far as I’m concerned, that’s home-cooked, if not actually “from scratch”. But then I assumed that was snark, unlike some grumpy ole ATC guys…… 😉

  28. Winston wins! Good for you guys, Ben! I know the decision must not have been easy. Hopefully we’ll know in the next month how long this surreal new normal might continue.

  29. Hey you can take this opportunity to learn how to cook some amazing simple meals. OOORRR make more recipes from the airline cookbooks. 🙂

  30. I agree about not currently traveling but there is no need to self isolate if you don’t have any symptoms. Staying home and not going out to eat is taken business away from small business owners who are struggling to stay afloat.

  31. By disrupting some plans and events today, we can protect the future from more drastic consequences. #flattenthecurve

  32. Sure, not travelling makes a degree of sense in this environment. However, for anyone who is not experiencing any kind of symptoms to lock themselves away for weeks at a time simply does not. The economic consequences of this could/will be absolutely devastating. Layoffs have already begun and it’s only been a few weeks It’s not short-term pain for long-term gain. It’s short-term pain for long-term pain. Common sense measures should definitely be taken and focused on protecting the elderly and other high risk groups (no elder Care visits, discouraging leaving the home, prioritizing hospital availability, etc). Social distancing doesn’t mean locking yourself up for weeks on end. In fact, since the elderly truly might need to do that, it is incumbent upon the young to continue to support the economy–shutting yourself off from the world doesn’t do that.

  33. Very big Thank you.

    You played a very vital part, you lead by example.
    This is one of the reasons I put you and your blog in high regards. You have much higher ethical standards than other blogs.

    On the bright side, look at this as an opportunity to see life from the ground no in the air.


  34. @Mr. Obvious

    Again you seem to miss the obvious. You can replace CDC, virus, etc. with climate change and you still get the same answer. All of these threats are know for decades and is still under the influence of politics. Politics have its roots in everything. And please don’t blame politics for cutting CDC budget. Do you yourself ever bought Cancel For Any Reason Travel Insurance? From how I see it CDC budget is like an insurance against problems like this.

    Maybe if you studied in school rather than get you education from news network or internet you would realize that CDC is under HHS which is under the executive branch led by the US President, who is elected from a political party. Enough politics yet? Obvious enough for you yet?

    You should change your title from Mr. to Miss, you seem to miss a lot of obvious things.

  35. Dear Lucky,

    I have something leisure related booked for April, that I may rebook. If I don’t travel in April then it would be the first time I stay home for 4 years, as all short haul work trips are currently cancelled.

    In these extraordinary circumstances that haven’t been since since the Second World War, I think the state will be needed to support all carriers and those employees.

    If America has a bad Italian style outbreak (Which is very possible seen as they aren’t testing much in America) it might even be the thing that triggers major healthcare reform.

    Anyway best wishes, and if you want to keep seeing any relatives who are more vulnerable due to age or illness. This is the most responsible thing for you to be doing.

  36. Just waiting for that Calala Island review, unless I missed it somewhere with all the Wuhan virus posts

  37. This whole thing is a great example of low personal risk — *I* am unlikely to get sick and die — versus high systemic risk — if 100 million people are exposed to this, a lot of people are going to die — leading people to ignore the public health issues.

    Bravo for arriving on the side of calm science, staying home, and riding this out.

  38. I personally travel every week to see my family and then commute by plane to where I am based. Thankfully my family relocated this past summer to where it is possible to commute (about an 8 hour drive). I’m a medical Feild executive so I cannot take any days off (I am able to work from home on weekends). In light of all of this, I am willing to drive rather than fly and while I can’t do it every week, I still think the risk isn’t worth it. And I’m not willing to stop seeing my family. That is just a punishment for myself.

  39. This “I stay home cause I don’t want my 95 year old neighbor with 27 pre-existing illnesses to die 2 days earlier” will cause a major economic disaster in only a few weeks time.

    My industry (airfreight forwarding) is already in a freefall here in Germany. Give it a few days and the first layoffs will happen. The locking-up at home behavior is ruining people’s lifes in the (not so) long run.

    All this caused by fear and hysteria… Unbelievable…
    What did you guys do back in 2003 when SARS was a deal? I don’t remember ANY hysteria.

  40. I truly don’t understand this mindset but enjoy the time at home for a while.

    Healthy individuals are not being “more responsible” by not leaving their homes and therefore preventing transmission to old people/immuno compromised individuals/other at risk people. It is the at risk populations not social distancing and sequestering themselves as much as possible to safe areas that will cause them to become sick.

    Is it easier to ask the much larger population of people who will not be greatly impacted by COVID to not go out? Or to protect the much smaller at-risk population by telling them to stay inside places that will not expose them to the virus?

    It’s not the healthy population that can still contribute productively to the world that needs to change their lifestyle. It’s those that cannot. Frankly, I’ve seen enough senior citizen interviews talking about how they’re still going out and living their life that if they die because of COVID, that’s a choice they’ve made, not me.

    If that’s how it is, to each their own decision and good luck to all!

  41. I’m with you on this. The airlines made it easy for me cancelling all my March and April flights so I’m staying home on a self-imposed house arrest until my next trip in early May which hasn’t yet been cancelled, at least as I write. I, too, do not want to unknowingly infect someone else so it’s not too much of a hassle to limit my “travel” to weekly grocery store runs until this thing is under control. And, I have two Siamese cats that are great company!

  42. Also that Tomas guy is talking out of his ass in the article you link covering COVID numbers. He has no idea WTF he is talking about – not the science, not the math, not the biology.

  43. Good message Ben. I look forward to the world returning to “ normal “ you enjoying the Krug at 40,000 ft and the biggest decisions in life being to decide between first class on Lufthansa or Swiss. I have enjoyed every minute of these reports and can’t wait to read the next instalments. Stay safe.

  44. @J and others: “for anyone who is not experiencing any kind of symptoms to lock themselves away for weeks at a time simply does not. The economic consequences of this could/will be absolutely devastating.”

    You are COMPLETELY off base here. We know from the experience of other nations that those that did little to minimize virus spread are now suffering huge consequences. In Italy and soon Spain and other parts of Europe, there are not enough respirators and hospital beds, and doctors have to choose who is going to live and who is going to die. This is a DIRECT consequence of failure to impose social distancing EARLY in the crisis. We have ONE OPPORTUNITY to not make the same mistake.

    Worrying about jobs and the economy when it’s a matter of life and death for thousands of people is completely irrational. It is like complaining that the espresso bar on the Titanic is closed while the ship sinks. The economy will recover and the jobs will come back. The lives lost will not.

    So please, please take this more seriously. If you need convincing, just google to find the articles by and about the doctors in Italy and what they are going through. And remember that we are ALL responsible for making sure that doesn’t happen here. It’s not just business as usual plus use hand sanitizer. It’s: work from home, stay home as much as possible, don’t go out to eat, avoid public transit, stay as far from others as you can when in public spaces.

  45. Ben: Maybe this is your chance to learn how to cook! Really, it’s not that hard, and you’ll have plenty of time for trial and error. And it’s something to do if you start to get cabin fever.

  46. @Tom O: It’s easy to just assert that the article Ben linked to (Tomaso’s) is faulty. But he argues his positions very well based on actual data and facts, and his conclusions are pretty much in line with what public health experts are saying.

    It is, in fact, an *excellent* article and well worth reading for anyone who doubts the need for social distancing NOW.

  47. Good decision. Yuk – not too appetizing looking – looks high in carbs. Get a cook book – most recipes are available on line.

  48. The goal is to keep the number of patients in need of care, especially any who need to be on a ventilator, to below the capacity of the system.

    Reducing social interaction slows the rate at which the illness spreads Even if it doesn’t reduce the total number of cases having them spread over a longer period keeps the system from becoming overloaded. Since patients in need of intensive care who can’t get it because the beds are full will invariably die, this greatly reduces the mortality rate.

    There are serious economic consequences due to the short term loss of economic activity however the prevailing view is that this is small compared to the costs associated the alternative. The developed countries such as Europe, China, Japan and Korea and the US all have the resources and mechanisms to deal with the effects of shutting down a major portion of the economy. No economist has come out in favor of allowing cases to spike.

    Every expert in the field has said the right course of action is to stay home, keep separated, slow the course of the infections, keep the health care system functioning and then spin the economy back up when it is safe to do so.

  49. Heck, as I write this I’m preparing my first-ever from scratch home cooked meal (I don’t cook, in case you didn’t know).

    “Thats not home cooking……… thats just heating up a frozen mass produced pizza.

  50. Good, but still one step short of protecting elderly relatives. Knowing that I will be spending time with my 95 year old mother in April and June, I proactively caught Coronavirus in late Jan in Hong Kong. Now I can visit mum with a clear conscience that I can not possibly infect her. And BTW yes the condition is biphasic (for some) with additional symptoms experienced about a month after the first set, which some journalists have mistakenly reported as “you can catch it again”.

  51. Please be very, very sure you and your mom understand the state of her immune system before you go anywhere. Various treatments have differing timelines for immune system recovery.

  52. You are doing the right thing. Thank you!
    Even if one is not affected by the virus, one might carry it on to a person with a weaker immune system. Again thank you for considering this.

  53. @henryyoung

    I have wanted to catch it and move on as well. a good lick on the railing of the star ferry should do it.

  54. Good for you Lucky. You made the correct call and I am sure Winston could not be happier. Everyone wants this to be over as soon as possible. I would be interested in articles concerning the future of travel and credit card rewards in light of this new situation we are going through, especially concerning how things will come back online when everything starts to stabilize and where the sweetspots may be during that time.

  55. “Heck, as I write this I’m preparing my first-ever from scratch home cooked meal (I don’t cook, in case you didn’t know)” Now that is frightening.

  56. Thanks for taking part and setting a good example. I am in self quarantine at the moment doing my part. All travel cancelled until June so far, but worried it could take longer as the spreading continues here in Europe. Crazy times..

  57. Absolutely the right decision. The level of naivety about this disease is truly frightening. More than frightening: it’s terrifying ( and I’m not given to taking fright easily).

  58. @snic
    The more I read and think, the more I realize we have to balance competing needs. If we neglect the overall economy, there will be people that don’t have food and medication they need. We have impoverished people, cancer patients, HIV-positive people and so on. If the supply lines and job security is disrupted, people will not be able to take care of their families or get their medication or health care.

    Then we have the coronavirus patients. Everyone is complaining about the lack of tests. I get it. We need testing. For sure. And South Korea is often brought up as an example. But South Korea cut the red tape for a private company to ramp up production of test kits. South Korea has prior, valuable experience with SARS and MERS. And…South Korea has used massive intrusive surveillance of its residents to track their contacts with COVID-19 patients. I don’t think my fellow US citizens would accept that. Finally, I read that 96% of South Korea test results have been negative. Still, I believe that testing is valuable. But not as valuable as something else.

    Let’s mitigate the spread of this virus, so that our healthcare system isn’t overloaded at any given time. We can do this, even if we don’t have all the tests we need. Tests are not given to people that are asymptomatic or with mild symptoms. Medical experts say that these folks can still spread the virus. But we CAN practice social distancing (to a degree; again, maybe just don’t go to concerts, festivals, large lectures, anywhere there is a crowd), good personal hygiene (wash hands, sanitizer, keep your distance, fist bumps). Everyone, no matter your age, should do these things to some degree. It will make a difference. And, hopefully, ensure that our system is not overloaded and that, if you need a ventilator and an ICU bed, it will be available.

  59. Well done guys. Winston , ( such a cutie ) if he could human talk, would be so happy with your decision.

  60. Take three months if you have to. You’ve done the right thing. If you can get out of Namibia, there will be more trips in the future to make it up. Your health comes first and even being young and healthy, you can still be a carrier and infect others. Make sure your Mum stays safe with such a low immune system even if it means you can’t see her. And yes, you have a really cute dog! Enjoy your down time with your husband and doggie!

  61. Fair enough if you want to do this and have a job that let’s you. However if everyone did this we would start to have major issues – we still need electricity networks to be maintained, emergency services to run, stores to get replenished. There’s so many components to keeping supplies running.

  62. Sad to see a travel blog turning into a personal diary. What have started as one of the go to places to check out the latest hotel/airline review, have turned into a typical “cry me a river” scenario (and don’t forge† to subscribe to my sponsored credit cards). Although, it is wonderful that you post about aviation news daily, there are far more reliable sources of information out there. And now that you have joined the virus hysteria, while feeling like publishing about the fact that you will not be posting any meaningful content in the future, makes this blog rather redundant. Thank you for many years of good content (Ive been a reader from 2015), and wish you all the best!

  63. Thanks Ben

    Wish you, Ford, and all the other readers good health and outcomes. This is an unprecedented time we live in, the least we could do is support each other.

  64. Glad to see/know Winston is making out well! He’s got the cutest happy face. 🙂

    Regarding the coronavirus pandemic, many companies are instituting full telework for employees, and recommending against non-essential travel. Wash your hands often, don’t shake hands or touch your face with your hands, etc. etc. Interesting times.

  65. Good on you for coming around, Ben. The US peak is expected to be mid-May, so things are unlikely to get less agitated before summer. Namibia: No… But maybe trips for mum before Labor Day, if we get lucky and everyone behaves like you.

  66. Just arrived home from EBB to JNB to Dubai to IAH.

    Scary stuff I was afraid to be stranded in Africa

  67. Good choice Lucky. And you’re right, our government’s response has not been swift and effective. The most recent email from my hospital this evening said that we still didn’t have tests, everything is being sent to the county, and only people severely ill in the ICU can be tested.

    That’s right, your hospital workers, nurses, and physicians are still not able to be tested. So it’s up to the people to take this seriously and do what we can to social distance. Thank you for being a part of the solution.

  68. You are making the right decision for you, your family and society imo. I hope your mom beats cancer and gets well very soon.

  69. Now that there will be little to write about travel, perhaps you could write how one can still support the local small businesses while staying at home?

    The virus will have huge impact on small businesses and they may not have the resources to take a few months hit.

  70. So being stranded at home for a while you might need idea for more blog posts than usual. Here’s one:

    Picking up on @snic and @randy – do some home cooking. But, not just any home cooking: Why not do a “Julie & Julia” type challenge and cook all the dishes in the United Airlines recipe book:)?
    I’m actually serious – I think this would be very entertaining for you as well as us fans!

  71. Thank you for saying this!

    As a physician I’m trying to tell all my patients this. Aside from going to work, I go home, and that’s it.

  72. I also have a trip to Africa planned in late April. Doesn’t look good right now. Holding out the slim hope that things will be ok by then. I’ll be interested to follow what you do.

  73. You have a large following on this blog and should be held accountable for spreading a dismissive attitude regarding coronavirus early on. Remember your “zombie apocalypse” article where you basically made light of the whole situation while flying through Asia?

    Just the other day you criticized CDC’s recommendation that you self quarantine for 14 days after returning from an international flight (Nicaragua).

    The virus is blowing up in our country primarily due to individuals who have had no known contact with corona patients. This is likely due to reckless travellers like yourself who downplayed the whole pandemic for the last 3 months and flew around the world like virus vectors.

    You could have done a lot single handedly by posting this article a few weeks ago. Many people on this website look to you for travel advice. Unfortunately, by ignoring the facts for the last several weeks, you likely inspired hundreds if not thousands of individuals to continue flying and potentially infecting many people.

    Shame on you, Ben.

  74. I applaud your change of view on this matter, and thank you for this statement.

    I also applaud to your statements about countries that kept on doing business as usual, and the US case numbers and the US testing issue.

  75. The optimal route is to ensure you get infected early in the cycle, know when you have it right from initial exposure so you can isolate, You’ll have it at a time when health services are less stressed should you need more intervention that just a couple of early nights, then you can resume travelling on your favourite airlines clocking up miles and points at bargain basement prices, safe in the knowledge that you are (a) immune and (b) not contributing to the spread of the virus. The more we all try to delay the inevitable, the more inconvenience we cause ourselves, more economic damage, more uncertainty about spending time with elderly relatives.

    TL;DR – catch it fast, catch it early, isolate, recover and move on with your newly acquired super-power.

    @kcb – HKG or a flight out was where I got my dose. Star Ferry maybe, but some nights out in Wan Chai for sure 😉

  76. Certainly the right decision, in particular since your business – at least in the short run – is not adversely affected. So you can relax and catch up with some work, as well as with your family (which includes Winston).

    Unfortunately, my situation is quite the opposite. I’ve been working like 16 hours per day this week, not earning any money, just limiting damage (e.g. rescheduling contracts, getting refunds for tickets). And as it looks, the next month will be zero revenue, so I’ll have to pay my employees out of reserves … Also that emergency work mode leaves basically no time at all for family. And yes, I can cook, for that you also need (a) some time and then (b) also some ingredients. Last night, all I got at the supermarket was some chicken, a few cookies and a bottle of wine … neither healthy nor inspiring. Sorry, for that gloomy feedback, but there’s nothing positive I could mention, I’m afraid.

  77. Appreciate the well-reasoned explanation. I agree with your assessment that travel may not pose a danger to you, but that is not the point. As Dr. Fauci recommended, we should treat the situation as if we had an immunocompromised person in our home; and sadly you know that experience better than most. As a physician-leader at my system, I find it extremely unfortunate that we have squandered the opportunity to emulate S. Korea/Singapore/Australia/NZ, but your example will save more misery than many other efforts. Thank you and please continue your efforts to influence.

  78. Well Ben…I would have wished for 72 000 racegoers yesterday to have had your attitude.
    I live in Cheltenham (UK) and for the last 4 days we ‘celebrated’ the annual world-famous Cheltenham Race Festival…..horses everywhere….most women in ridiculous hats and skimpy dresses (average daily temperature 6-10C)…big fat men in funny tweed outfits..and all of them standing in close (very close!) proximity drinking champagne and beer and coctails and gin mixtures as if the world would end on Friday 13th March 2020 at 17.00hrs.
    It might well do for a fair number of attendees.

  79. I was wondering what you decided. Stay safe. Cooking is fun but you have to do more than heat up a pizza to really call it cooking. 🙂

  80. long time reader just wanting to say thank you for this post!! it’s exactly how i feel about social distancing – it’s not that i fear that the world will end, it’s just that it’s simply the right & best thing to do for our world. i have to say that my pup feels the exact same way as winston! he’s loving having us all home all time for cuddling. please keep up the upbeat content, and i’m keeping my fingers crossed that you get to go on a fabulous trip with your mom this summer – partially a selfish hope as i can’t wait to read all about it!!

    sending good vibes to you, ford, and winston! the outbreak is a chilling reminder that we’re all in this together.

  81. @Henry Young, I thought it might be good to get it early, too, while my hospital still had vents and ECMO available should I, as a senior, suffer a severe case.

    Lucky, Winston is lovely, but your pizza needs anchovies.

  82. Maybe it is an opportune time to learn how to cook. Nothing more rewarding than cooking your own meal (you know what has gone into it) and then enjoying it later. All that frozen stuff is not good for you. Believe me, it is not that hard and tons of YouTube videos to learn from.

  83. Based on some of the charts in the linked article, the social distancing must happen 1 month or more. How are people planning to buy groceries during this time? Amazon? Grocery store delivery services? Any others? Is there a good forum to discuss this?

  84. That is a sensible move to stay at home for a few weeks that, i suspect by early summer that this pandemic will be behind us and that things will work out. Your coming flights to Namibia in April are not 100% but, your travels from June and beyond will be fine. You will have time to go through your files etc during this time. Good that you visited Nicaragua and experienced Starlux Airlines (out of Taiwan) before the pandemic.

    Pray your Mom recovers

  85. That is a sensible move to stay at home for a few weeks that, i suspect by early summer that this pandemic will be behind us and that things will work out. Your coming flights to Namibia in April are not 100% but, your travels from June and beyond will be fine…………..

    That is assuming airlines are still in business then!!

    Whilst everyone must do as they see fit, spare a thought for those financially affected by this media fuelled crisis. Living in the UK, I’ve already seen Flybe ceasing operations and others looking for their employees to make large financial sacrifices to stand a chance of survival. Let no one be in any doubt about the strain this is putting on tens/hundreds of thousands of people throughout the world linked to the aviation or tourism industry.

    As the airlines weigh up the economic impact this is having on their business I would hope no criticism will be levied at them if they decide to devalue their loyalty schemes. I would hope all those who have enjoyed superior travel or have made a good living by blogging about the pros and cons of the luxury cabins of the various airlines, will accept any reduction in the loyalty programmes especially if this protects jobs and/or keeps thinner routes operating. Also, anyone trying to use this crisis to get cheaper travel or holidays in the months to come should be ashamed of themselves.

    The airlines should be applauded for their speedy and generally customer focused reaction to the current situation. I hope the travelling public reciprocates in the days/weeks/months to come.

    I’m not an airline employee. I’m just trying to ask for a sense of perspective from the travelling public. Everyone has made their own decisions about travelling over the past couple of weeks. This has caused a dramatic effect on the airline/tourism industry. Don’t complain when the industry has to make hard decisions about how it’s going to recoup its losses.

  86. @Ted: “The airlines should be applauded for their speedy and generally customer focused reaction to the current situation”

    I would point out that the airlines waivers first covered new flight purchases, and not previous bookings. This to me is saying they were more interested in their revenue than doing what’s right for the customers.

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