Traveling and Visiting during Covid 19
June 21, 2020 8:29 PM   Subscribe

Should I visit friends in Phoenix AZ during Covid 19?

I live in Los Angeles. I'm thinking of traveling by car to visit some friends in the Phoenix area for a long weekend. I'm in my late 30's and my friends are in their early 40's. I plan to hang out at their house and by the pool. No big crowds. Perhaps we will do some meals at a restaurant but only outdoor seating. Also might do some hiking. Just wanted to get people's you think it's too risky to go visit my friends in Phoenix right now because of the increase in Covid 19 cases? Obviously you can't give a definitive answer here. Just looking for opinions...would you go? Am I being reckless by going? I definitely do not wanna get sick or make others sick. But on the flip side I'm not sure it's any more risky then being out and about here in Los Angeles. I know there are risks involved...just trying to weigh those risks. Some other info...I work from home. One of my friends in Phoenix does as well but the other works in and office and sees customers. Any thoughts or opinions here are appreciated!
posted by ljs30 to Human Relations (22 answers total)

There is no consensus yet on whether we’re even out of the “first wave” of the virus, let alone how it’s transmitted. It is not safe to travel.

But most importantly, you need to realize that this isn’t about your safety as much as it is about the safety of others: the elderly, the immunosuppressed, the very young. You can be entirely asymptomatic and still be able to spread the disease to others.

It us not safe to travel. Please don’t, for those of us who cannot protect ourselves.
posted by scrump at 8:39 PM on June 21 [12 favorites]

I can give a definitive answer. Please do not do this.

I'm not sure it's any more risky then being out and about here in Los Angeles.

If you acknowledge there is risk to you and your loved ones at home, why do you feel that the same risk in a different geographic area is a risk worth taking? Especially just to "hang out". There's a ton of risk involved in just "hanging out", particularly with a person in the house who still interacts with the public every day, then brings that interaction home.

Your friends will be around after this is over. You're young, and will have plenty of time to catch up with them in person when it's safe to travel. Now is not that time. I get that you're probably bored and stir crazy, and miss your friends - a lot of us who are shutting ourselves in are in that same boat. But the point of going through this boredom and stir craziness now is so that this shut-inness isn't a permanent condition. Please don't go on this trip.
posted by pdb at 8:52 PM on June 21 [7 favorites]

Phoenix and LA are both very high risk areas right now, some of the worst in the country. There is no chance I would ever go to a restaurant in either right now, the kind of people who are at restaurants now are very likely to not wear masks and be sick. I am more open to risk than most people here, but I would not do this unless it was a critical mental health issue or something.
posted by JZig at 8:55 PM on June 21 [9 favorites]

No, sorry. The only folks who should be traveling right now should be those for whom it is absolutely necessary (i.e. not just for fun) and they should be doing a hard quarantine at their destination (no trips out, groceries delivered, definitely no restaurant or hiking outings) for two weeks. Weekend trips to hang out with friends just can't be a thing right now.
posted by btfreek at 8:56 PM on June 21 [5 favorites]

I would go on that trip most likely, although possibly not for leisure or if there was a local outbreak or something (I don't know the areas risk or why you want to go). I'd skip the restaurants and also get tested and/or isolate myself before leaving and after I returned home. Buy gas at the pump, pack food for the trip so you don't have to stop, don't go into any buildings other than your friends house etc.

People are doing similar trips for work daily. The period where containment was possible is passed now so you are not going to be spreading the virus anywhere it isn't already. You live and work alone so most of the risk is to you, not others.

Its not risk free to you though so it depends on why you want to go.
posted by fshgrl at 8:57 PM on June 21 [3 favorites]

Agree with the other commenters -- please don't do this now.
posted by Alterscape at 8:57 PM on June 21 [4 favorites]

This is a pretty easy call—LA and Phoenix are both exploding right now. I would not do this. I know it sucks.
posted by Automocar at 8:59 PM on June 21 [15 favorites]

Most of my family is in Phoenix. I've cancelled my summer travel there, which was scheduled last year. It's not safe for me, or anyone who could come in contact with me.

Phoenix is the worst in the nation for new cases and spread right now. My friends who live there say masking and social distancing is inconsistent.

Your travel isn't urgent. Stay home and protect yourself and everyone who would have been exposed to you during your journey.
posted by answergrape at 9:08 PM on June 21 [14 favorites]

posted by mumkin at 9:12 PM on June 21 [4 favorites]

I would absolutely not do this now. Definitely not.
posted by holborne at 9:15 PM on June 21 [5 favorites]

If you get tested before you go and test negative and you don't interact with people on your way to Phoenix, then you're not significantly endangering anyone else by going to Arizona. It sounds like you'll be more at risk of getting the virus in Arizona than at home. You could end up bringing it back with you. But if you can drive home without interacting with anyone and you're willing to isolate and get tested after you get back, you can eliminate most of the risk there too. (I don't know how easy it is to get tested where you are. Where I live anyone who wants a test can get one.) Going on this trip is obviously not the safest possible thing you could do but it doesn't seem insanely risky either. If your friends can get tested before you come, that cuts down on the risk even more.
posted by Redstart at 9:23 PM on June 21 [1 favorite]

What a Negative COVID-19 Test Really Means (Sarah Zhang, Atlantic, June 21, 2020) ("as Americans weigh the risks of attending protests, rallies, birthday parties, dinners, and all the social gatherings that make up normal life, they will have to contend with the uncertainty that a negative test result does not rule out infection. [...] Understanding false negatives from COVID-19 tests is especially important because people who do not yet know that they’re sick play a major role in the spread of COVID-19.")
posted by katra at 9:42 PM on June 21 [4 favorites]

Here is a chart of CA’s new COVID cases. They have been steadily rising since the end of March. Here is a chart of AZ’s new COVID cases. They have been steadily rising since the end of May.

I know a lot of people (like our federal government and many governors) are acting like the pandemic is over and it’s time to get back to normal life. That’s just not true. We’re not even looking at a second wave yet—we haven’t finished riding out the first wave. Stay at home.

Also, being in your late 30’s or early 40’s is no protection. People your age are dying from strokes or suffering lifelong health effects thanks to COVID.
posted by ejs at 10:07 PM on June 21 [7 favorites]

According to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, guidance for individuals and households dated June 3, 2020, includes: "Stay home as much as possible," "Avoid non-essential travel," "Limit the amount of time you spend in close contact with others," and "Limit the number of different people you spend time with."

According to Maricopa County, "Nearly 60% of all COVID-19 infections reported have been among those under 45 years old. Even if you are young and healthy, you are at risk for COVID-19 and can expose those around you without knowing it." Maricopa County's website also states, "Even if you are young, or otherwise healthy, everyone must do their part to slow the spread of COVID-19," and "Avoid large and small gatherings in private places and public spaces, such a friend’s house, parks, restaurants, shops, or any other place. This advice applies to people of any age, including teens and younger adults."
posted by katra at 10:24 PM on June 21 [5 favorites]

You should not travel to Arizona right now. No one should travel to Arizona right now. In terms of the probability of that a randomly selected person you meet has Covid-19, there is literally nowhere in the United States that would be worse to visit.
posted by caek at 11:22 PM on June 21 [16 favorites]

My sibling is in Phoenix. Fortuitously, I visited them in February, but I'd like to see them again eventually, you know, and yet at this point I'm not even inviting them on a trip that is scheduled far enough in the future that I personally might actually be able to go on it (maybe), because it's pretty clear that 1. it still probably wouldn't be safe to bring them and 2. their government can't be trusted to communicate that.
posted by teremala at 4:10 AM on June 22

This is pretty much the definition of non-essential travel. If you were doing this for something critical (like a job interview, say), I'd say go for it. But just to hang out, be social, and go out to restaurants? That seems like a poor idea that should be delayed until things are under better control.
posted by Dip Flash at 6:17 AM on June 22 [3 favorites]

As someone who lives in Phoenix, I would not go out to any restaurants here, even for patio dining. We are now in the phase where we are registering thousands of new cases per day, mostly here in the Valley--and that's despite the fact that it's very difficult to get tested and results aren't available for at least a week (so our numbers are lagging).

Stay home.
posted by Superplin at 7:43 AM on June 22 [3 favorites]

I am in Phoenix. Do not come here. Not only are cases exploding and our hospitals are filling up, most people are still dumb and think it’s a “liberal hoax” or the flu. We just got a mask mandate but enforcement is practically nil so if you go anywhere in public, even if you try to be safe, someone near you isn’t going to be.
posted by Weeping_angel at 3:00 PM on June 22 [1 favorite]

I just saw this on MSNBC (via youtube)... a nurse describing the situation in Arizona. Heartbreaking. So, maybe stay at home.
posted by zaelic at 3:35 AM on June 23

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