It’s been about a year now since we were introduced to COVID. A very long year.
Unfortunately, people are still dying and masks are still necessary. But I feel like we know a lot more than we did in March 2020.
For one thing, the death rate is not as bad as we feared it could be. And so far, we haven’t seen a predominance of devastating long-term effects on those who got infected and lived.
Also, getting tested now (at least in big cities) could not be easier. You can plan social events and assure your hosts or guests that you are healthy with a simple 20 minute trip to a testing center.
So with this information in hand, we debated and finally decided we could escape the dreary Seattle rain and take a vacation. We immediately ruled out places like Arizona, Texas, and Florida. They are free to live how they want, but they aren’t getting our tourist dollar while mocking the existence of a pandemic. Plus, Kelli Ward, Paul Gosar, Ted Cruz, Dan Crenshaw, and Matt Gaetz are pretty strong reasons not to support a state.
Mexico was quickly ruled out because visitors don’t need to be Covid negative to enter. That left Hawaii and the Caribbean. And we chose Exuma in the Bahamas.
The reasons: 7,000 people on the island, 100 cases, zero deaths. Mandatory testing not just for people flying into the island, but arriving by boat as well. And despite the lack of positive cases, hotel employees still have to wear masks.
The result was a wonderful experience. We enjoyed stunning views, warm weather, lovely beaches, friendly and attentive hosts, and a feeling of safeness that we can’t get at a grocery store at home.
Our fellow guests were all respectful; wearing masks in enclosed areas, standing a few feet away while chatting at the pool, standing 6 feet apart when waiting in line for coffee, etc… The staff was perfect. Wearing a mask for 8 hours in 80 degree weather can’t be easy, but they did it with a smile.
So my personal point of view here as we enter Year 2 is as follows. 1) We need to still be careful. 2) We still need to avoid people, cities and states that ignore the severity of the issue. 3) We can travel to and reward the people in the states who still respect the disease and take the time and care to protect you from it.
I think we can accept the risk of COVID now without fearing it. We know what it does and how we can get it, but we also know that we can stay pretty safe by traveling with those who share a respect for each other.
Stay careful. Be cognizant. Avoid idiots. Live your life. That’s what we’ll be doing the next few months.