Delta Details

Delta Details

Travelers are growing weary of Delta and I’m not referring to the airline. What exactly is your risk, especially if you’re contemplating a far-away journey?

Voluntary travel is rarely determined by facts, alone: It’s how you “feel” about the trip. But the more you’ve invested the more you need to understand the facts. If you cleared your calendar, made a deposit, bought airline tickets – well, then, go a little bit further than just how you might feel after watching the evening news.

In just the last week there was an unexpected decline in passenger air traffic. “This week capacity for the month of August 2021 is 3.8% lower than capacity in the schedule for August just one week ago,” the airline statistics expert OAG reported today.

While this might reflect a little of passenger frustration with the recent slew of cancellations and rescheduling, I think it reflects more travelers’ growing concern with Delta.

The Delta variant of Covid is one of the worst diseases to ever hit humankind. But… it isn’t as contagious as chickenpox, probably not as deadly as ebola or dengue, and likely not as long-lasting a threat as polio or the measles.

What Delta is supreme at is transmissibility. As far as we know, only chickenpox is worse. So why wasn’t the world in a fit of dystopia with a chickenpox pandemic?

Mainly because chickenpox isn’t as lethal or debilitating, and also because before there was a chickenpox vaccine there were a lot fewer people in the world, a lot fewer airplanes and congested airports.

Delta might be one of the worst diseases ever to hit humankind, but the vaccines developed to protect against it are absolutely among the most terrific medicines ever made by man.

You should not travel to a far-away place unless you’re vaccinated against Covid. If you’re vaccinated, you’ll be remarkably protected.

Facts are facts:

The vaccine protects 72-93% of those who get the shot against symptomatic infection by the Delta variant. That means that only about 1 out of 10 vaccinated persons will get infected. And the vast majority of those won’t even know they’re infected. And even of that really, really small group subset of 1 in 10 that does feel symptoms an even really, really smaller group will ever be hospitalized and as far as we know today, none for very long and none will die.

Compare that to the ordinary flu vaccine. Covid vaccines are three to four times better than flu vaccines.

So just go on your merry way? No.

While the risk of feeling sick with Covid after being vaccinated is really, really small, the risk of getting infected is actually greater than with the flu.

If you get infected you’ll probably not know it and it will probably not impede you one iota in your scheduled sightseeing. But the PCR test that you’ll have to take to get onto an airplane to start your journey home will know. And that’s vaccinated travelers’ greatest risk, today.

At least once, and for many travelers more than that you’ll have to get PCR tested during your journey. Right now almost every government in the world – including the U.S. – requires incoming travelers show a recent negative PCR test. That means the airlines won’t allow you to board to begin that journey home if your PCR test is positive.

So how do you prepare for this?

To minimize it happening embrace mitigation efforts like masking and social distancing. You should make sure from your tour operator that all those persons with whom you’ll be in extended contact are vaccinated. Avoid crowds.

But recognize that once you step out into the world at large there’s a chance you’ll test positive so don’t be surprised. Plan for it, however unlikely. Prepare for the week to ten days that you’ll have to self-quarantine until your test comes back negative.

We really don’t know how likely this is. There just aren’t studies of vaccinated travelers vis-a-vis their PCR tests. No airlines or governments have compiled yet any lists or percentages of travelers denied boarding because of positive tests.

Getting sick is highly unlikely. Testing positive is your greatest concern.