Travelers with COVID-19 are selfishly endangering others. Experts call the problematic behavior 'truly reckless.'
1960's woman resting on an empty airplane during a flight through US country
Several people recently made headlines about travel despite knowing they either tested positive for COVID-19 or had symptoms of the disease. Wesley Moribe and Courtney Peterson were arrested and charged with reckless endangerment after flying to Hawaii with their child on November 29, despite being told to isolate after the couple tested positive for COVID-19.
More recently, a 69-year-old man who was reported to have developed symptoms of COVID-19 traveled with his wife on a United Airlines flight on December 14 from Orlando, Florida to Los Angeles, California. He suffered a medical emergency the flight and later died, with the coroner citing COVID-19 and acute respiratory failure as the cause of death, according to the Washington Post. The publication reported that the man's wife "told medics on the plane that he had experienced symptoms such as difficulty breathing, loss of taste and smell," but did not disclose any COVID-related symptoms on a pre-flight checklist.
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Experts say the message about the importance of wearing face masks and physical distancing as well as quarantine after testing positive for COVID-19 is out there - which was recently cut down from 14 days to 7-10 days if a person tests negative and shows no symptoms after daily monitoring, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Why do some people still travel even though they either tested positive for COVID-19 or have COVID-19 symptoms, putting others at risk?
Understand why COVID positive people can travel
Neda Gould, PhD, clinical psychologist and assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral science at Johns Hopkins Medicine, told Yahoo Life that behavior is "problematic" because "the consequences for others can be so dire."
Dr. Iahn Gonsenhauser, Chief Quality and Patient Safety Officer at Ohio State University's Wexner Medical Center, calls the behavior "really inconsiderate". He told Yahoo Life, "They know their diagnosis and the risk they pose, and they choose the behavior anyway." It's very difficult to explain. "
According to Gonsenhauser, however, it is possible that people who are knowingly infected and still travel "make false or misleading assumptions or rationalizations that they ultimately consider to be okay". Gonsenhauser notes that there has been "so much misinformation" surrounding the coronavirus, including some politicians who have downplayed the severity of the virus, even though more than 320,000 people have died from COVID-19 in the US alone. According to Gonsenhauser, it is possible that misleading information "led to the conclusion that it does not endanger the people around them".
Dr. Asim Shah, professor and vice chairman of psychiatry and behavioral science at Baylor College of Medicine, tells Yahoo Life that it can be selfishness or denial in these circumstances that induce people to travel and put others at risk.
"But more than what we see is in our country, unfortunately people tend to resist the authority," says Shah. During the pandemic, it can mean people refusing to wear masks or gathering with groups of people outside their household. "They tend to use the words 'rights' or 'civil rights'," says Shah. "While all of this is true - that is your right," he says, that people do not "have the right to hurt anyone else".
Shah continues, "If you are the only one affected, that might be fine. But people tend to forget that they are not wearing a mask and that they are traveling in a positive state. They hurt others. This means that rights others get hurt. Shah adds, "The sad part is that people don't realize they are putting others at risk."
Gonsenhauser notes that independence in the United States is a value that Americans "value". But he says we can still be a nation that works together to stay safe during the pandemic without losing our independence. In the past, "when we were involved in major national conflicts, that comes together," says Gonsenhauser, "and instead it was used as an opportunity to drive us apart and make enemies." others and that is so unfortunate. It's interesting that so many people standing on a platform of patriotism choose not to shoulder the responsibility their nation demands of them. "
Another explanation is that given that we have been in the coronavirus pandemic for almost a year, Gonsenhauser says that COVID fatigue is a "very real disease" that can be a factor too. "People struggle and feel isolated and worn out," he says.
However, Gonsenhauser adds that for anyone who tested positive recently, "it is extremely important to observe the quarantine isolation" and says, "You put people at very high risk when you travel."
However, Gould notes that the cases of COVID positive people traveling appear to be "rare and far apart" and that the "good news is that the news has gotten through most of the people as we don't often see. " In the case of the couple who were arrested and charged, Gould says the arrests will likely continue to "get the message across," adding, "It's unfortunate that it has to get so extreme. If that's not a warning, I don't know." what that would be. "
How to Combat COVID Fatigue During the Holiday Season
As the country sees an increase in COVID-19 cases, people are gradually experiencing what Dr. Rheeda Walker referred to as "COVID fatigue". In the first few months of the pandemic, people were generally more cautious and vigilant, but with the holidays just around the corner, we started to let our Gaurd down a little. A therapist and professor of psychology at the University of Houston explains how we can solidify and become spiritually disciplined so we can celebrate safely.
Read more from Yahoo Life:
COVID-19 is the leading cause of death in the US today: "The death toll is astonishingly high."
Everything you need to know about COVID-19 vaccines
"Snow days as we know them may be over": How distance learning can undo the "magical" ritual
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