There’s hysteria. Then there’s common sense. And as we try to make sense of what is hysteria and what is not, a big question is whether senior citizens should fly. Sadly, that question has become a political issue.
The Trump Administration has been accused of blocking a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendation that elderly and physically fragile Americans not fly on commercial airlines.
An unidentified information told the Associated Press that the Administration ordered the specific reference to air travel be removed. Instead, the updated CDC warning advises high-risk individuals (senior citizens and those with heart disease, lung disease, or diabetes) to:
- Stock up on supplies
- Take everyday precautions to keep space between yourself and others
- When you go out in public, keep away from others who are sick, limit close contact and wash your hands often
- Avoid crowds as much as possible
- Avoid cruise travel and non-essential air travel
So avoid air travel may have become avoid “non-essential” air travel…
Meanwhile, the Trump Administration is calling the AP story fiction, adding that avoiding air travel “was never a recommendation to the Task Force.”
Vice President Mike Pence, who President Trump tapped to head the administration’s response to COVID-19, said on Saturday:
“If you’re a senior citizen with a serious underlying health condition, this would be a good time to practice common sense and to avoid activities including traveling on a cruise line.”
Meanwhile, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar told older Americans to avoid crowds “especially in poorly ventilated spaces.”
My Continued Coronavirus Conundrum
So what do we make all of this? Should senior citizens fly or not?
Whether seniors should fly or not should not be a political issue. But in a time of uncertainty in a presidential election year, gamesmanship will rule the day.
And so we are left with an uncomfortable reality of uncertainty. I don’t have an answer. I don’t know how much is hysteria and how much is not. Should we all just err on the side of caution?
This is a huge struggle for me. I think back to my Israel trip in January, where many warned me not to go because of escalating tensions with Iran. I went and had an incredible trip with my wife and son. The entire time I felt incredibly safe. COVID-19 is a whole different beast, but similar in that the most cautious approach is to stay home. It should be noted that terrorism cannot be spread from one person to another while viruses can.
But I can’t help but to continue to think this is all just a fear-based overreaction with disastrous economic effects, even as I will advise my father, uncle, and grandmother not to travel by air during this time. Am I just ignorantly joining the bandwagon considering how much unsafer it is to drive than fly?
I really don’t know. I really am confused about all of this, especially as one who is more prone to take risks. How about you?